How to deal with customer complaints on social media

Anna Wilson, head of digital at social media training company The Juice Academy:

10. Do your homework

Before you jump in with both feet first, examine the user’s profile, understand what they talk about and how they do it, this often gives you a good insight into how to approach them.

11. Manage expectations

People expect transparency so in the ‘about section’ be clear about when you’re monitoring the social channels, give people an e-mail address for the ‘down times’, and then say when e-mails will be responded to and stick to it!

12. Speak in the right way

People respond to people, so try and avoid using jargon or corporate lingo where possible

Elie Adamson, client services director at social media consultancy We Are Social:

13. Preparation is the key to success

When dealing with consumers on social media, businesses need to analyse the types of conversations happening about their brand and their competitors, so that they can anticipate need. The insights gained from this analysis can feed back to the company management, and can actually help identify and even resolve problem areas.

14. Respond in a timely manner

Because of the instantaneous nature of social media, users expect a quick response to their query or complaint. It’s important that social media channels are always monitored by those authorised to respond – or that these people are always easily accessible.

15. Companies need to make sure their online and off-line customer services procedures are aligned

If the person or team dealing with the company Twitter handle, for example, promises a customer a phone call from customer services, it better actually happen. The only thing worse than having a complaint in the first place, is receiving poor, disjointed customer service that rubs salt in the wound.

Sarah Beresford, managing director at marketing firm TimesEleven:

16. Never ignore a comment

Whilst we love great reviews, complaints and negative feedback can be to hard take. The problem with social media is the bad news spreads just as quickly as the good. But address the negative reviews in a thoughtful and timely manner and customers can become your life-long advocates.

17. Never delete a customer’s post

This is by far the biggest sin in social media. If you do, you’ll unquestionably end up annoying your customer, who will feel that they are not being listened to. Even worse, if they then complain about their post missing, you’ll risk losing all the faith and interaction from your social communities.

18. Learn how to deal with ‘ranters’

You will undoubtedly be able to pin point the ‘ranters’. It’s good to have a plan of how to manage ‘ranters’ without disengaging them – often these people have a strong voice amongst your community. Try to empathise with them and understand their issues.

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