How to Respond to Customer Complaints on Social Media

social mediaCompanies that utilize social media give themselves an edge by tapping into the ability to directly communicate with their consumer base. Doing so creates a friendlier image and can improve brand strength tremendously when handled well.

But, of course, direct communication has its drawbacks. By exposing themselves to social media, businesses also open themselves up to negative feedback or complaints. When this occurs, it’s critical to address the situation as swiftly as possible. One poorly handled message and a company’s image can collapse.

To help with this, here are some quick strategies and a set of standards to maintain when responding to customer complaints.

Keys to Success
First and foremost, the team or individual handling social media accounts should always respond in a professional, friendly manner. No matter how acidic the tone of the complaint is, maintaining the image of a well-run business is crucial. Even if the accusations seem baseless and needlessly hostile, never match this tone of verbal aggression.

This is because a company’s image is tied into how it handles these things. People will see how the company reacts. If it’s a poor response, it can swiftly backfire.

However, before creating a response, determine a few things:

  • How fast did your business respond?
  • Is the complaint worth responding to? Remember, your actions will highlight both company and complaint.
  • Is the core of the complaint about a service or product, or just baseless hostility?

If the complaint is just someone wanting to argue, choosing not to respond is sometimes the best option. But make your decision carefully.

If you do respond, make the customer understand they’ve been heard. Lines like “Thank you, we hear you and understand how that’s frustrating” are important in turning a negative into a positive interaction. From there, apologies are important in resolving the issue. Being straightforward and “human” earns a lot of points with lots of people – in other words, the apology should read genuine instead of coming off as a stock reply.

From here, deciding how to best resolve the issue comes down to the business, but concessions are important. Do you offer a special discount? Return a broken product? Offer a free service? Whatever the apology, actions always speak louder than words.

Primarily, addressing this concern is about observing weaknesses in your own business strategy. How did this problem occur, and how can it be prevented from occurring again? Those are answers you only get from critical responses.

At the end of the day, when you handle complaints on social media just right, your company comes out looking stronger. Word of mouth develops into a stronger brand because other customers see how well your business responded to a bad situation.

Ultimately, that’s why avoiding aggression and maintaining friendly responses are so important. Others can judge how justified the anger of an individual is, legitimate or not. By extension, you demonstrate reliability and expedited customer service, making for a stronger organization overall.

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