When involved in any type of business, you’re going to run into customer complaints. This is simply the nature of the beast and is something that’s inevitable. This is especially true when you’re operating online and have a large social media presence. The Internet seems to embolden people to speak up; and whether it’s the anonymity factor or the fact that it’s very easy to be heard, you’re more than likely going to deal with far more customer complaints via sites like Facebook than you’ve ever dealt with via an on-location business.
People obviously handle customer complaints in different fashions, with some outright ignoring complaints and others even stooping to a troll-like level and getting into fights with unruly, unsatisfied customers. These approaches are very damaging to say the least. If you value engagement on Facebook, then it’s imperative that you handle customer complaints the right way. Throughout the article below, you will learn about a few great ways to stay in front of and handle complaining customers.
7 Tips for Handling Complaining Customers
1: Be Quick to Respond
It’s tough to put an actual number on the percentages of legitimate complaints versus the useless gripes, as every brand on social media is drawing a different crowd. But the universal rule here is that you have to be quick to respond, even if that response is to delete trolling, profanity, useless complaints, etc. Being quick here is going to help you save face as a brand and it will help you mend fences with customers who do have legitimate gripes with the way you do business.
2: Make Sure you See the Complaints
It should go without saying, but it also bears reminding: You cannot respond to what you can’t see. So in order to ensure you actually see the complaints quickly, you need to regularly check in on your Facebook brand page (or have an employee do it), and you should set up measures such as Google alerts so that you’re receiving email alerts any time you deal with some negativity. You can also use other social networks, like Twitter, to see what people are saying about your brand. Some complaints won’t deal with a particular customer-business transaction.
3: Take an Apologetic Tone
Even if you’re not in the wrong and the customer is being fickle and confrontational, every response should start out with a simple “I’m sorry.” Apologizing before you get into the meat of the matter shows that you’re willing to listen and are willing to handle the issue. The contrition shown on your behalf can keep a lot of situations from boiling over. If a customer is on the verge of becoming irate, an apology might just bring things back down to a manageable level.
4: Be Honest in the Conflict Resolution
From the above tips, you may have deduced that it’s important to fix the problems the customers are citing. However, you have to do more than pay mere lip service to them. The idea here isn’t simply to quell frustrations by placating complaining customers. Instead, you have to back up your words with real actions and actually work to achieve some resolution. A complaining customer today could be a happy, repeat customer tomorrow if you handle things properly.
5: Respond Selectively
Although you need to see and act in a quick manner, you shouldn’t waste your time responding to every single complaint you receive. We are dealing with the Internet, after all, and that means you’re going to run across some people who are simply spamming. Even though it might seem like a legitimate gripe, you may dig a little deeper and find that it’s just some angry troll trying to throw a monkey wrench in your program. So respond selectively by deleting and/or ignoring the garbage.
6: Show a Human Side
Anything you’re doing related to social media for your business needs to have a human element to it. For instance, you may be tempted to set up a customer service arm of your business that handles things by a script and pre-programmed, robot-like responses. This is a bad idea for social media. You’re swimming in an ocean of engagement; take advantage of this by actually communicating with customers as a human.
7: Be Transparent in Your Dealings
A lot of complaints form like a mini class-action, in that a group of people will have the same problem with how you’re doing business. This is why it’s always important to be very transparent in how you’re handling customer complaints. Be open and transparent with what you’re doing, making sure that others see you attempting to handle the complaints in a timely fashion.
More than anything, it’s important that you always address customer complaints. Ignoring something in hopes of it going away is only going to make the problem worse. Use the tips above and set up a system to handle complaining customers on social media.