How to Handle Customer Complaints on Social Media

 In Facebook, Google Reviews, Reputation Management, Social Media

Many businesses live in fear of negative online reviews and comments from disgruntled customers.  With the lightning speed and easy accessibility of social media, anyone who has had a bad experience related to your product or service can quickly reach their followers, yours, and just about anyone.  Generally those with something negative to say also are faster to comment or leave a review than those who had a good experience.  This is a frustration experienced by business owners who have great relationships with so many repeat customers but fail to see this translate to positive comments online.  While your initial instinct may be to brace for the worst, keep in mind that the way that you handle customer complaints actually can help to enhance your corporate reputation.

Be Courteous and Prioritize Finding a Resolution

Every company at one point or another will receive negative feedback or face a disgruntled customer online.  Some can be downright angry.  Before you respond, remember that you are in a public space.  How you engage with those who have an issue with your company actually can improve how you are perceived by everyone who is watching – if you handle the situation well and provide a resolution.  While it can be tempting to consider deleting a negative comment this is never a good idea unless someone has posted a comment that is patently offensive.  You might block one account, but someone can send comments from the accounts of their friends and inundate you with negative feedback.

Respond Promptly

When you fail to respond promptly to a complaint, it sits unanswered for everyone to read, sending the message that you don’t care or don’t have a good answer or resolution for the customer.  Now think about the public perception when multiple negative comments accumulate unanswered.  In contrast, sincere and helpful responses aimed at fixing problems are well-received by customers who are watching.  They may even interpret the initial negative comments as too harsh or unwarranted.

Provide Customer Service

Some people turn to Twitter and Facebook for customer service.  While it is usually a good idea to handle the specifics of complaints or issues privately, make sure to acknowledge customers publicly.  Show that you understand their concerns and are happy to provide them with specific assistance.  Encourage them to send you a private message with their contact information so that you can resolve their issue. Afterward, evaluate whether customer service channels are made clear on your website, emails, and printed materials, as people may be less inclined to turn to social media if they can reach you easily in other ways.

Determine If You Can Help More Customers

The exception to moving a customer complaint to a channel that is not public is if the specific response can assist other customers.  Perhaps someone is confused about a policy that your company thought it had previously communicated well.  Maybe you are hosting an event and need to clarify something about the registration process.  Once you have clarified something on social media, remember to revisit your original content.  If website information is unclear, it may need to be edited.  Feedback that may seem negative actually can help you to solve or prevent issues with many of your other customers.

Things can become very heated online, so remember to remain calm and courteous even when faced with an angry customer.  And when you do receive compliments, remember to acknowledge those just as promptly as complaints. If you need help dealing with complaints, contact our experts at Premiere Creative or give us a call at (973) 346-8100.

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