Are People Complaining About Your Business On Social Media? Here’s How To Respond

It’s never easy to deal with criticism, and when it’s directly aimed at something you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into, it can be almost impossible.

If you’ve found yourself on the bad end of a series of complaints on social media – whether about your business, your job or something near-and-dear to your heart – don’t tweet without reading this first!

The facts

First thing’s first: being able to see all of the complaints against you or your company is a good thing, even if it hurts. It means you can address them head on, and potentially stave off a massive disaster – you could even turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one if you tweet proactively. In fact, one study of negative online comments showed that of the customers that received a response to their complaint, 33% turned around and posted a positive review, and 34% deleted the original negative review.

And remember: people are more likely to post negative reviews and comments online than positive ones. You probably have many customers just sitting there, enjoying your product, and only a small handful who take to Facebook or Twitter to complain. Getting those satisfied customers to write positive reviews is the domain of another blog post entirely, but for now let’s focus on how to respond to the negativity.

Don’t tweet in anger

One of the worst things you can do when responding to customer complaints is to tweet in anger.

Take your emotions out of it! This is easier said than done, of course, since you’re probably very close to your product or service, and you think it’s the bees knees, but your response to criticism must be made with a level head.

Take a minute to try to see things from the customer’s perspective. If they were expecting something and it wasn’t delivered, they have a right to be upset. And even if you believe they’re in the wrong, the old adage “the customer is always right” still rings true with the advent of social media! So tweet back calmly and professionally.

Respond quickly

Most customers expect you to be available 24/7. And although this is impossible if you’re part of a small organization, you’ve got to do your best to respond to complaints within 24 hours of them being tweeted out.

Customers who get speedy responses are more likely to stick with your company, and if they feel you have great customer service on social media, they’ll spend up to 21 percent more on your business.

Be helpful

It may sound like a no-brainer, but customers like when you’re helpful. The vast majority of complaints sent via social networks could probably be answered if you just created a FAQ and directed users to the right section – and think of how much time this would save you!

If you don’t have a FAQ, answer each question or complaint to the best of your ability. Be friendly, polite, and offer to help the customer one-on-one with their issue.

Take it offline if you need to

Social media is great. We’re big fans! But it’s not the be-all-end-all of customer service. If a complaint is serious enough, it may warrant a longer discussion than 280-character snippets can offer, or it may involve personal information not meant for broadcasting in Facebook comments.

Taking a complaint off of social media is a good way to deal with those serious complaints effectively, and also show that particular customer that you’re listening. Nothing’s worse than an unanswered tweet to a customer! So do what you can on social media, and continue the conversation offline if the situation calls for it.

How do you handle complaints on social media? Share your tips with us in the comments, or tweet to us @fedicaHQ!

2 thoughts on “Are People Complaining About Your Business On Social Media? Here’s How To Respond”

  1. Yes but…

    When I raise an issue with somebody online, I want it resolved online. I do not like being told to take it offline. Example – I was disappointed that a Lowes LEED light bulb failed after 3 months intermittant usage. Lowes wanted me to take it offline. All I wanted was for them to acknowlege that there was a problem with the bulb.

    • That’s true John. It depends on the situation. Sometimes there are customers who just like to complain for the sake of complaining, so taking it offline helps diffuse the situation, but when it is a legitimate complaint that can be resolved quickly (in the form of acknowledgement for example), you can certainly respond online.

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