No matter what business you are in, and no matter how hard you work to perfect your customer service, sooner or later every business will have to deal with a customer complaint. Social media has made it easier for businesses and customers to communicate than ever before, but it also means that any customer complaints become a very visible part of your business’ online presence. This means it’s more important than ever to have a strategy in place to deal with your customer’s complaints and make sure they come to a satisfactory outcome. Today, I’m going to look at the best steps to take to deal with customer issues on social media.

1. Respond quickly

When dealing with customer complaints, time is of the essence. Nothing says ‘poor customer service’ like a visible complaint that hasn’t been dealt with for days, or, God forbid, weeks. Ideally, you should try to respond to customer complaints within one hour of the complaint being posted. That doesn’t mean that you need to sit at your desk, constantly monitoring your social media feeds; tools like Hootsuite or Google Alerts can be set up to send you an alert when your business is mentioned, letting you know when to take action.

2. Listen to their issues

The first thing a customer with a complaint wants is to be heard. Take the time to listen to their concerns and to try to understand their position. In some cases, a customer wants nothing more than to vent, and demonstrating that you have understood their concerns will go a long way to helping them to feel you care about their position.

It’s also important to not waste the opportunity that a customer complaint can give you to help improve your processes. Companies can spend a lot of money in trying to solicit customer feedback to improve their processes – in that sense, a customer complaint can be a golden opportunity to look at ways to improve the customer experience.

3. Take the discussion away from social media

Dealing with a customer’s complaint is a complex process. The issue could escalate, the customer may well be angry or upset, and fixing the issue could require private information. For all these reasons, any discussion of the customer’s issue should be done through private channels – emails, direct messages, phone calls – rather than as public posts. Move the issue to private communication as soon as possible, and keep it there until the issue is resolved.

4. Deal with the issue

Once you have fully understood the customer’s problem, you can work on providing a solution that will address their issue. First, you should apologise for whatever problem the customer has undergone, focussing on the apology and an explanation for why it occurred. Then work to provide a solution that will help the customer, whether that be a refund, a future credit, or work done to fix the issue they are experiencing. This may well include offering service beyond that which they originally asked for, but the return on your investment will be worth it if it satisfies the customer.

5. Change the feedback

Once you have successfully dealt with the customer’s issue, ask if they would be happy to change their feedback, either by changing their review or leaving a positive comment following on from their compliant. Most customers will be happy to do this if their problem has been solved, and them doing so will carry a lot of weight with other customers.

Whether the customer does or doesn’t leave a positive comment, you should still follow up on the thread, politely thanking them for their feedback and stating that you are happy you could deal with their concerns. Need help managing your business’ social media presence? John Rowbottom Design and Marketing can provide social media management services tailored to meet your needs. For more information, visit jrdm.com.au and book an appointment today.

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