Dealing with upset customers is an inevitable aspect of any business.
Considering how customers take their concerns and rants to social media channels in this day and age, effectively appeasing fuming customers is a necessity to avoid damaging brand reputation.
It’s easy to make costly mistakes, especially in the area of social customer service—where timing is essential and conveying the most effective response is limited to a number of characters and more importantly, viewable to the public.
How do you handle customer rants on social media? Here are some tips to help minimize social media damage to your brand:
1. Monitor social media sites constantly.
To address customer issues appropriately, you need to be aware of the problem. Monitoring social media sites is a 24/7 job, but you can easily set up alerts by using monitoring tools such as Google Alerts or Social Mention.
When someone mentions your name on the Internet, you’ll be receiving an e-mail, which will make closely monitoring social media sites much easier.
2. Handle all complaints made on your social media channels.
Negative feedback left on your social media channels, every single one of them, needs to be responded to, as this is an integral part of your reputation management.
Why should you answer every complaint? Leaving unhappy messages unanswered, sends a message that you don’t care about your customers and can significantly affect your brand’s credibility. It also gives off the impression that you don’t know how to fix the issue.
Complaints should be responded publicly, deleted if without merit, and handled offline if necessary. Just make sure that the public sees that you have acknowledged the issue, and would be handling it offline (via e-mail or phone).
3. Respond quickly.
Responding to customer feedback is important but the speed of response time is also critical. You need to address the complaint before it escalates and spreads.
Even if you can’t fix the complaint or address the problem at this instant, acknowledge that you have read his concern, empathize, apologize if needed, and begin engaging the customer to help you take action.
4. Direct volatile issues to a non-public channel.
Once you have responded and acknowledged the customer’s concern, offer to resolve it to a non-public channel. You can suggest corresponding via e-mail, direct message, or phone so you can easily ask for confidential information such as account data necessary to help resolve the issue.
5. Have a strategy or crisis plan.
Similar to customer service done by phone, e-mail, or chat, develop strategies, workflow, and best practices in place in developing your social media customer service.
Social Customer Service Best Practices
1. Never get into a fight.
Irate customers can say mean and hurtful things, which can get pretty offensive. The key here is not to let emotions get the best of you.
Stay calm and remember to never take it personally. You are reading comments against your brand—not yourself.
2. Speak like a human.
What irks customers more than getting ignored are canned responses. You can use the standard templates issued to your team, but you can always personalize the message to your client by being warm and friendly. You may even show empathy by using your real name.
3. Unless it’s a real apology, don’t try to apologize.
If you are going to say sorry, make sure you are owning the mistake without issuing any “buts.”
4. Offer to make it right.
Apologizing may work in diffusing tension but fixing a problem is how you win irate customers.
Train and Improve Your Brand’s Social Customer Service
Customer service is changing. Customers know their importance, so their expectations are rising.
The demand for quality social customer service is huge, as customers expect businesses to go where they are going, and right now they are going online.
Social media is a valuable channel for marketing, building brand reputation, and community engagement. Companies need to utilize this for the growth of their business.
Aside from customer services, there are some social media services your business can look into. Contact us if you need more information.