Feats of Strength: How to Deal with a Complaint

Cathy's Tuesday Tip

When you realize that an unhappy customer is dragging your company’s name through the mud via social media, your initial response may be to fire right back at them. Stop. Think. Respond. It definitely takes great strength and self-control not to reciprocate the hate. One angry, bad tweet could send your company into a downward spiral. It is your responsibility to defuse the situation before it blows your world to bits. All these customers want is to be recognized as having a problem with an immediate resolution. Though it may sound simple it is not that easy. Having a standard game plan set is essential to ensure you handle this type of situation the same each time. By following a protocol, it removes your feelings from the equation. Here are a few steps to follow to ensure you handle these irate customers properly. Hope you enjoy Cathy’s Tuesday Tip! ~Cathy


Where is the Complaint Surfacing?

Sadly, most complaints do not tag companies by their official handle which makes it more difficult to know that there is a complaint being aired. Twitter is known to be the most popular sounding boards, but that isn’t true. Facebook takes the lead by having 71 percent of the complaints on social media. Be sure to monitor Facebook closely. If you are only searching social media for your brand handle, you will miss more than you will find. Using a social media listening service, like Google Alerts, will inform you of all mentions of your brand name. This is a time saver and quite useful.


Keep Calm and Be Kind

Your customer is upset and you can’t change that fact. You CAN change the customer’s feelings by what you do next. However you respond, respond with honest empathy. Customers can read through fakeness, believe me. Things do go wrong but they can be fixed. It could be an apology and/or a refund but it is up to you how you fix it. Do everything you can to do so. Still, it is known throughout businesses everywhere that you cannot make everyone happy. In the days of irate rants on social media, we have to make it right in the eye of the consumer to maintain a good reputation. Positivity is the best policy!


Respond Publicly

When deciding how to respond, one thing that is certain is that your first response must be public. Customers and potential customers could be out there reading these posts and making decisions on whether or not to do business with you. Again, be kind and helpful. This could show those reading the posts that your company cares about their customers.


No More Than Two

Reply to the complaint no more than twice. After the first complaint, apologize and offer a solution. If the complaint persists, offer another apology and suggest a discussion of the issue in private. If there is a third complaint, do not respond. The goal of responding is to resolve the issue of the unsatisfied customer but more importantly, it is to prove your values to the rest of the world.


Change Forums

Customer service cannot be completed through social media. There are limitations to what can be done on social media. There are character limitations on some and the complaint may require you to ask for personal information or details that shouldn’t be shared over public forums. Changing platforms could be positive for you as well. If the issue is addressed quickly by taking it from social media to a private channel such as email or a phone call, you may see positive results. Just as fast as the customer complained, they could turn around and praise you for your excellent customer service.

If you correctly respond to complaints, social media can work in your favor when addressing the customers’ concerns. Consistently following these steps and keeping it positive and initially responding publicly could keep your reputation untarnished and customers returning.

I hope you enjoyed Cathy’s Tuesday Tip this week. To view more of Cathy’s Tuesday Tips, visit our blog.

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