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How NOT to Respond to Angry Customers Via Social Media

Social media has given consumers a powerful weapon for fighting back against brands that cause them problems. Now, whenever a customer has a complaint about a company, he (or she) can instantly launch a missile at the company when they Tweet about it, post a Facebook update, write a blog post, or use any other social media tool to let countless others know about their bad experience.

Clearly, it’s important for your company to monitor the social media space so you can stay on top of all brand mentions. But the question is: What do you do when you find an angry customer complaining about you via social media?

Well, I can tell you what you don’t want to do. These are the things you should NOT do when responding to angry customers online.

  • Wait a long time to respond – Conversations happen very fast, and an online complaint delivered through social media can spread like wildfire if you don’t put it out immediately. That’s why it’s so important that you respond to negative feedback as soon as possible.
  • Blame the customer – Pointing your finger at the customer (especially online for everyone to see) is never a good idea. When a customer makes a complaint about your company, you have to own up to it. Accept blame for any mistakes your company may have made, offer a sincere apology, and provide a solution.
  • Keep the dispute going in public for everyone to see – After your initial response to the angry customer, it might be necessary to take the conversation elsewhere, to another channel of communication. You might want to get on the phone with the customer, or resolve the issue through email so that the entire dispute isn’t out there for everyone to see.
  • Offer no solutions – An apology is a good start, but customers want solutions. They want to know how you’re going to fix the problem you’ve created for them and how you’re going to ensure it never happens again.
  • Don’t act on the feedback – The best companies truly listen to the complaints of their consumers and act upon their feedback to create a better company.
  • Communicate like a corporation – Corporate speak and social media just don’t mix. Whenever you talk to an angry customer online, you have to do so with an authentic, human voice. The typical corporate, press release style apology won’t work here. Be sincere. Be yourself.

Have you ever had any customers express complaints through social media? How did you respond?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 8 Shocking Secrets Press Release Distribution Firms Don’t Want You to Know here: http://www.ereleases.com/landing3.html

4 Responses

  1. Evan says:

    Nice post…turn it into a positive experience for the customer!

  2. […] it helps to take the conversation “someplace else,” as this article suggests. If you take the time to pick up the phone or email a customer, they will see that you are […]

  3. […] How NOT to Respond to Angry Customers var fbShare = {url: 'http://keithbrown.com/you-cant-afford-to-ignore-customer-service/',size: 'large',} Posted in Reputation Management, Social Media | Free Tips and Tricks: Customer, Facebook, Google, reputation management, Social media, Twitter « Facebook or Google: Who Will Replace the Web First? You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. […]

  4. Absolutely great advice, and a lot of companies need to heed it.

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