September 30, 2013 at 11:56 am

Social Media for Business: How to Handle Customer Complaints

Social Media for Business: How to Handle Customer Complaints

customer complaints on Social mediaThings appear to be going just peachy on your business’ social media accounts; everyone seems to love the content provided and the general feeling is one of happiness. But, the next thing you know, there’s a negative comment about your business posted for everyone to see.  Immediately, the stages of grief start to set in and you hit every single stage in a rapid fire succession: Denial (What is this person talking about?), anger (This is ridiculous!), bargaining (Maybe if I had done this post instead of the other…), depression (Ugh! I’m so bummed out about this) and acceptance (I need to make this person feel better, but how?). Handling customer complaints on social media for business can be very difficult and when they are posted for everyone to see, it can make the matter all the more urgent.

According to the Consumer Retail Report by Right Now, 68% of consumers who posted complaints or negative comments online got a response from the retailer or business.  This number seems a little low, but there is good news. Of those businesses that made it habit to respond to negative comments, 18% of those who complained became loyal customers, 33% turned around and posted a positive review and 34% deleted the original negative comment.

Knowing how to handle negative feedback on your business social media accounts is crucial.  Here are some things to consider before you respond to a bad comment or complaint.

Time is of the Essence
The moment you see a negative comment posted, the clock starts ticking.  Gather your thoughts and figure out how to respond as quickly as you possibly can.  The longer you wait, the angrier the customer will become.  They may even post another nasty comment.  Egads! That’s the last thing you need.

No Cookie-Cutter Responses
Treat each complaint as its own individual complaint and respond as such.  No one with a complaint wants to see that you responded to another unhappy customer with the same exact sentiment or even the same exact words.

Sincerity and Honesty Are Like Magic
Letting the customer know that you understand their issue in a sincere way will rectify at least 50% of the issue; people just want to be heard and know that their opinions matter.  If you can do that, you stand a great chance at always turning those frowns upside down.

In the Know
Maybe it appears the customer isn’t properly informed on a product or they are confused about a service.  Take the time to explain how your products or company work. Be honest and transparent about what you provide and how it can help that person.

If All Else Fails, Send a Message
Some people just won’t be swayed by your kindness and may even continue to post complaints.  If this is the case, send them a direct message that is completely personalized.  Be clear and explain that you understand their complaint and point to the ways you have attempted to rectify the issue.  It may just be the personal touch the disgruntled customer needed in the first place.

Try, Try, Try Not to Take It Personally
Let’s be honest, you don’t know what kind of day, week, or even year your customer is having.  Yes, your product made them unhappy, but there may be other things going on in their life that has nothing to do with you or your business.  Be empathetic to the issue and realize that a complaint is great feedback for your business.

A customer complaint is not the end of the world.  It can even be the beginning of a beautiful relationship! Remember to handle these complaints in a delicate and empathic manner; doing that will have you standing tall above your competition.

What kind of complaints have you gotten of your business social media accounts? How did you handle them? Let us know!

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