Handling Complaints On Social Media

One of the things I get asked about a lot, indeed – one of the main worries for people not confident with social media – is how to handle complaints.

Social media has caused a massive shift in the traditional company/customer dynamic. It used to be that the company was the big voice and customers were largely silent. Now, in a world where everybody has a voice, a business can sometimes struggle to be heard.

One thing that has not changed, though, is people. Complaints should STILL always be dealt with as priority and using your very best customer service at all times. It is unrealistic to expect to be able to keep everybody happy all the time, so having a plan of what to do in the event of a complaint makes a lot of sense.

Handling a complaint on social media is a lot like handling a complaint in a restaurant – you need to deal with it there and then because it is in public and your other customers are listening (they might be pretending to be really into the soup right now – but actually, they are listening very closely).

Take complaints offline wherever possible. Ask the customer to send a number you can call them on and get it resolved in private. Then when it is sorted, you can pick up the thread online afterwards to confirm you have made that customer happy. The ideal scenario should look like this:


So for starters (told you it was like a restaurant), and especially if you can’t take it offline, you need to remember these 3 Golden Rules:

  1. Deal with it immediately, if not sooner. The longer you leave something on social media, the more it can gain momentum and become beyond your ability to affect.
  2. Exhibit the highest levels of customer service and politeness, regardless of customer tone. Remember that you are in public and not only customers, but potential customers could witness the exchange.
  3. Resolve publicly AND positively. If the customer has a genuine complaint, you need to flex the PR muscle and go above and beyond. Offer a freebie or a discount or something nice for the customer to show that you value them. A little cost now could save you a lot in the future and you’re out to impress the watching crowd.

Further than that, if you would like any more help or advice with social media for your business – please feel free to get in touch – or stay tuned to the blog for more tips.




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