How to Handle Facebook and Twitter Complaints
by Liz Plachecki
It’s inevitable that even the most successful brands on Facebook and Twitter will face customer complaints. Some are simple, such as an issue with an online checkout process, while other times irate customers want both you and the rest of your followers to hear them. Practicing good social media strategy in the face of complaints is critical in order to keep both your angry customers and your other followers around.
- First, take the time to respond. One of the quickest ways to compromise a great social media reputation is to ignore negative comments. Inactivity can come across as an attempt to sweep the issue under the rug, leading customers to get angrier and leave even more negative posts. Start your response with an apology and then let your customer know what you’re doing to fix the issue. These measures demonstrate good customer service and show that you value customers’ feedback.
- Be patient and understanding. It’s easier to post hurtful, insensitive comments on the internet than it is to say the same things in person. Even so, your response to a frustrated customer should be personal, understanding and come from the business itself.
- Contact a customer privately. For more detailed problems, it may be appropriate to move the issue off of Facebook or Twitter. This is particularly important for Twitter where 140 characters is rarely an adequate amount of space to get to the heart of an issue. Send the client a private Facebook or Twitter message or suggest continuing the conversation through email or over the phone.
- Provide a response for the original post. As a general rule, it’s best practice to give a response to the original negative post after the issue has been resolved instead of removing the post altogether. Showing customers that you place a high priority on customer service – working to right any wrongs that occur – builds customer trust.
- Let the community respond. Once you’ve given your response, let your other followers chime in with their own input. When you’re able to fix minor issues, such as website glitches, it’s likely that you’ll get thank-you messages from many more customers than the single person who initially addressed the issue. When you’re able to fix major issues, like defective products, customers may be impressed enough to express their appreciation for the good service of your company.
- Don’t be afraid to remove truly offensive, inappropriate comments. There are rare comments that are simply offensive and don’t call for responses, such as racial slurs, profanity and vulgarity. Go ahead and delete these comments – most, if not all, of your followers will be grateful you did.