You are going to get complaints. Get use to it. The challenge with complaints has always been the most effective way to handle them. Social media complaints and negative comments present a peculiar challenge because they are so often anonymous.
All of the latest market research reveals that customers who complain online, and especially out at a social media platform, expect the company to answer their complaint within the hour. Sadly, the average company response these days is five hours. And that’s if a company or small business bothers to answer the complaints at all.
Be listening all of the time and be with them
The fortunate thing about social media is that about half of the people don’t really expect a business to respond to them at all. If you don’t have a full time person maintaining your social media platforms, you must go out and purchase the software that can. Some companies even monitor Yelp. Many complainers will take the low road because they don’t have to identify themselves. That is why you need to diffuse them right away. Show empathy and sympathy for their problem and ask them what they think a fair resolution would be. Remember the old rule: a happy customer will tell three people about you; an unhappy one will tell seven. Always act, never react. You are the professional remember.
Don’t make it personal but do make it public
Battling a customer’s angry and arrogant complaint will only stir you up toward anger. When you are angry, you can’t think properly. You are a swirl of emotion and it doesn’t matter if you are right and the customer is wrong. If you lose it, you lose. Simple as that. You want to leave them feeling like they were listened to and that you really cared about their complaint and that you actually did something about it. If you have someone doing that for you, they better not be some teenage intern. You need someone trained in sales to do it. These are delicate matters and the reputation of your company depends on a proper resolution. Also, do it all online. This way, other users and customers can see the transaction and judge for themselves how well it was handled or that the complainer really had no case. Always act like everybody is watching. Because the are…
-Written by Kevin Sawyer