Social Media: The New Complaint Department

Social Media: The New Complaint Department

By Courtney MoserJul 18 /2013

complaint departmentThe creation of social media accounts for your business has changed the way customers can interact with your company, both negatively and positively. The days of sitting on hold to speak to a customer service representative are long gone. These social channels have become the place your audience comes to learn about you, ask questions of you and complain about you. This is the age of immediate gratification; customers want answers and they want them quickly.

Media Post compiled these statistics from Dimensional Research that show just how much consumers use social media to express their opinions of brands:

  • 95% of consumers report sharing bad customer service experiences with others
  • 45% of those surveyed stated they share bad customer service experiences on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
  • 30% reported using these channels to share good customer service experiences
  • 69% stated the most important factor to their satisfaction was the length of time it took for the complaint to be addressed and solved
  • 65% reported the pleasantness of the person helping them was the most important part of the experience.

Unfortunately, along with waiting on hold and standing in line, the privacy of consumer complaints has disappeared, too. Once one of your dissatisfied customers leaves an upset comment or tweet, your whole audience, as well as theirs, can see it and will begin awaiting your response. There are a few different ways you could respond; some will gain you the respect and admiration of your audience and some will cause them to write you off all together. Here are three tactics to avoid when responding to complaints via social media:

  • Don’t delete the comment: If you log into your Facebook account and see an angry comment from an upset consumer that paints a negative picture of your business, it may be your first instinct to delete it. However, this out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality will only make the issue worse. The customer who wrote the comment will not assume it just magically disappeared and forget his issue. He will know someone deleted it and will most likely become more upset. In some cases, companies that delete comments find their tech-savvy consumers have taken a screenshot of the original complaint just in case of such a situation. This has disastrous effects when they share the image and story with their followers and the company’s. Only delete comments that use foul language or violate your rules of engagement.
  • Don’t ignore the comment: No one likes to be ignored. Your customer feels strongly enough about the issue to log on and complain. She deserves the time and respect of your answer. Also, this unanswered question or complaint is just sitting there, on your Facebook wall or in your Twitter stream and has been seen by more than just you. Your audience is waiting for your response, and no response is just as devastating to your reputation as a bad one.
  • Don’t answer defensively: The old adage “the customer is always right” still rings true today. Even if the customer is rude, it’s your job to stay professional and courteous. Your audience will respect you for keeping your cool under pressure, and the complainer may change his view of your company.

The best way to respond to a complaint on social media is quickly and politely. Always remember your conversation with this customer is not private, so keep your audience in mind when typing a reply. Technology has changed the way we all do business—use this to your advantage! Show consumers you care about their happiness when it comes to your business.

Have you had success turning a complaining customer into a lifelong fan of your business via social media interaction? Tell us about it in the comments!

CourtneyCourtney Moser is an Associate at Kuno Creative. She applies her passion for writing and editing to assist in creating content for Kuno and its clients. She loves to read, expand her vocabulary, and write engaging content for multiple audiences. You can connect with Courtney on LinkedIn.

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Photo Credit: The New Yorker