Complaints on Social Media, What should you do?

Your day has started off great, you've just finished lunch and returned to work at your desk, only to discover a not so friendly facebook post in your notifications. In fact it's anything but friendly, even quite rude! You immediately feel angry, defensive and negative and want to unleash with a tirade to put them in their place... STOP RIGHT THERE!

What should you do? Reply? Ignore it? Delete it? These are all questions in a common daily occurrence for many businesses who sadly get it wrong a lot of the time.

To put things into perspective, here's some stats on complaints.

  • A recent report by VB Insight has revealed that consumers today complain about brands 879 million times a year on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media portals, with 10% of those consumers making a complaint on social media every single day.
  • In the Customer Experience Report by RightNow, their survey found that the number one reason customers leave a brand to use a competitor was not due to pricing or faster service, but due to poor quality and rude customer service.

4 Quick Tips!

  1. Do respond! Make sure you give your brand a voice. If you don’t respond, your customers will assume you don’t care what they think. If you do respond, many people will at least see that you and your brand do care and take an active interest and that you are trying to make an effort. This can flip many tricky situations on their head and inspire brand loyalty and confidence.
  2. Never go on the attack against customers who complain on a public forum - it's like pouring fuel on an already burning fire with several bystanders watching in anticipation. Don't argue with those who have posted something negative about your business. It will inevitably ensure that even more people hear about the complaint and invite further negativity about your business.
  3. Be quick to respond! Speed is of the essence. If a person starts complaining about your business on social media, it can often have a snowball effect. We've all seen it as more and more people jump on board the complaint session, and then instead of having one manageable complaint, you will have dozens to deal with. A Delay in response or providing an unsatisfactory response can trigger a wider window of opportunity for others to fuel the fire.
  4. Be complimentary and reach out. Rather than becoming negative or aggressive, the more effective approach is to reach out to those that complain – but not defensively. Try to steer the communication to a more private channel such as email or phone. When you initially respond to a customer's negative post on a social platform or forum, suggest offline ways to reach you collaboratively (including a real, monitored email address and/or phone), and express your regret and concern – with a commitment to resolve the issue.

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Turn that frown upside down!

Social media complaints are not always doom and gloom. If you handle them correctly they can create a great opportunity for businesses to turn a negative into something that can actually benefit a brand’s reputation. Social media is an essential part of a brand’s public perception, a direct line to your customers on which a business depends, and in that sense it’s the best way to show consumers what you’re really made of!