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10 Tips for Handling Complaints on Social Media

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“Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions.” – Tony Robbins

Not so long ago, when a customer had a problem with a business, they would pick up the phone to speak with someone about it, send an email or letter to the company, or file a complaint. In today’s society, writing reviews, blogging, and leaving comments on social media are the new norm for customers to vent their frustrations.

If your company does not have a social media presence, you may be doing your business a disservice. But just having a Twitter or Facebook business page is not enough. You need to monitor what consumers say about your company and how to respond to complaints on social media. Let’s cover ten things you can do to make sure you’re engaging with your customers effectively and in a way that helps your brand.

Keep it. If you receive a negative comment or complaint on your page, your first inclination may be to delete it. Instead, show your customers your concern and that you take their remarks seriously. Use the situation to show your existing and potential customers how you resolve issues. There is no business that is perfect and from time to time complaints are bound to arise.

Respond. One of the top gripes customers have is not being able to reach someone to resolve their issues. Being responsive to your customers shows them that you value their business and you care about customer satisfaction. Remember, not only is that customer looking to you to address their problem, others eyes are on you too. You can lose customers or repeat business if you are not responsive.

Be prompt. It is not just enough to respond to your customer, you should do so as quickly as possible. Comments left on social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook should be addressed within the hour, whenever possible. If you need more time to respond or more information from the commenter, respond anyway. Your customer wants to know you’re listening to them and are concerned about their experience.

Carefully choose your words. If you’re dealing with an angry consumer, they may use inappropriate language or comment in an undesirable way. Avoid arguing or insulting them. Keep in mind what you say is on display for others to view and you want to handle matters in a professional manner.

Prepare. To make it easier to respond promptly to consumer issues, it’s a good idea to prepare responses to frequent consumer inquires beforehand. In addition, instruct your representatives to know when to escalate an issue to upper management or your legal team.

Be empathetic and personable. When you’re addressing an unsatisfied consumer, you want to deescalate the problem. Your response should be human and empathetic. Let them know you are sorry they had a bad experience and that you are ready to help resolve the problem. Use the person’s name or initials in your response and offer a solution.

Avoid moving the conversation. When the consumer reaches out to you on Twitter or Facebook, try to avoid redirecting them to contact you on some other platform, such as email or phone. At this point, the person is looking for an immediate resolution to their problem. Asking them to send you a direct message, email, or call to discuss the issue will probably make the matter worse. It also doesn’t help onlookers understand how you’re resolving the issue. If you do need to move the conversation to a private setting, explain to them why. For example, if you need to receive personal information to look into their issue, your response can be, “Jackie, let’s get this resolved right away. Can you message us your phone number so we can look up your account?”

Show consistency. If customers get conflicting information from your representatives, that doesn’t look good for your company’s reputation. Track and share responses so that everyone on your team is on the same page.

Make a goodwill gesture. When problems arise, don’t be afraid to offer the consumer a complimentary item or service. Offering a freebie is just another way to show you care about their customer experience and you value their business.

Keep records. The complaint and how it is handled should be noted in the consumer’s record. This data is useful when training employees in providing proper customer service.

With these useful tools, you can have successful social media interactions and resolve matters that may otherwise tarnish your business reputation. Don’t forget to also respond to positive feedback and comments from your customers, letting them know their appreciation hasn’t gone unnoticed.

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About Business Consumer Alliance Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.