Handling Complaints About Your Company on Social Media

September 7, 2023

Dealing with a complaint about your company on social media requires a thoughtful and proactive approach to protect your brand’s reputation and address the customer’s concerns.

If you set up a social media channel, you need to check for any comments so that you can deal with them promptly.

Here are a few suggestions on how to handle such situations:

  1. Act Quickly: Respond promptly to complaints. Delays can escalate the issue and make it seem like you’re ignoring the problem.
  2. Stay Calm and Professional: Maintain a professional and empathetic tone in your responses. Avoid getting defensive or confrontational, even if the complaint is unjustified.
  3. Take the Conversation Offline: Ask the customer to direct message (DM), email, or call your customer support team to discuss the issue in detail and resolve it privately. Provide contact information or a customer support hotline. If you feel they would prefer to be contacted, then ask them for a convenient time to call.
  4. Acknowledge the Complaint Publicly: Even if you move the conversation offline, it’s essential to acknowledge the complaint publicly with a brief response. This shows other customers that you are responsive and care about feedback.
  5. Gather Information: Ask the customer for more details about their complaint to understand the issue fully. This information will help you address their concerns effectively.
  6. Apologize and Show Empathy: Offer a sincere apology for any inconvenience the customer has experienced. Show empathy by acknowledging their frustration or disappointment.
  7. Provide a Solution: Offer a solution or steps to resolve the problem. Be specific and clear about what actions you’ll take to rectify the situation.
  8. Follow Through: a solution has been agreed upon, ensure that you follow through on your promises promptly. If you can sweeten the pill with a special offer or discount off their next order, it’s nice from their perspective (unless they are saying they would never use you again).
  9. Learn from Feedback: Use the feedback from the complaint to improve your products, services, or processes. Demonstrating a commitment to improvement can positively impact your brand’s image.
  10. Document and Analyse: Keep a record of the complaint and your interactions with the customer. Analyse recurring issues and trends to prevent similar problems in the future. In the past, I’ve had problems from customers who were served by one member of the team at the call centre we were using; if this happens, speak to their manager.
  11. Train Your Team: Ensure that any customer facing/support staff are well-trained in handling complaints and maintaining a consistent and empathetic tone.
  12. Preventative Measures: Identify the root causes of common complaints and take steps to prevent them from happening in the future. Proactive measures can reduce the likelihood of recurring issues.
  13. Stay Engaged: Continue to engage with your customers on social media, sharing positive stories, updates, and responses to feedback. Building a positive online presence can mitigate the impact of occasional complaints.
  14. Seek Legal Advice (if necessary): In rare cases where a complaint may involve legal issues, consult with your legal team or seek professional advice before responding publicly. If you are an FSB member, you can always ring the legal helpline for advice.

Remember that handling complaints on social media is an opportunity to showcase your company’s commitment to customer satisfaction and problem-solving.

When dealing with staff who have made a genuine mistake, try not to make them feel it was their fault as it will diminish their confidence and could lead to further errors. We all make mistakes and noticing them up front so corrective action can be taken is key.

A well-handled complaint can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal advocate for your brand.

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