Social media has quickly become an integral part of business. Gone are the days where complaints were made in person, over the phone or with a letter. Nowadays, negative reviews and complaints are extremely public – an aptly worded hashtag is all it takes for millions of eyes to change their perception of your business in an instant. So it’s important to deal with all forms of negative feedback quickly, professionally, and empathetically.  Deal with customer complaints poorly, and you risk a PR nightmare and potential loss of business.

1. Acknowledge Complaints QuicklyGIRL-WITH-SOLUTION_2The internet has changed the way we consume. We’re greedier and our standards and expectations are higher than ever before. When a customer complains to any of your social media platforms, be it Facebook, Twitter, or even Myspace (all right, maybe not Myspace), it’s not only the way you respond but the time it takes you to do so that makes all the difference.

When you receive a tweet or a notification, the complaining customer will assume you saw it instantly, and it’s highly likely that you, or your social media team, actually did. Time is money. And online, time moves much faster than it does in reality. It’s essential that you acknowledge complaints quickly and act even quicker. After all, according to a survey by BrightLocal, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

2. Take the Conversation Out of the Public Domain
You’ve received a complaint – a bad one. Maybe it’s one you find particularly unwarranted. However, now’s not the time to argue. Your social media pages are vastly different from the comment section on a YouTube video of a teenager attempting to drink a gallon of milk in three minutes. It’s important to remember that complaining customers are doing you a favour by pointing out a flaw in your business.

According to Help Scout, news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. It’s time for damage control. Where possible, take the conversation out of the public domain, away from prying eyes and unwanted negative attention. Try these possible solutions:
•    Call the customer immediately and resolve the issue.
•    Respond to the complaint online with a request for contact details in order to find a resolution.
•    Or get old-fashioned and arrange to meet in person.

If your customer is extremely upset and looking to blow off steam, it’s better they do so in private where the potential for public backlash is minimal. Remember, your customer wanted your attention, so let them know they have it.

3. Once Resolved, Respond Politely to the Initial Comments
Once you’ve solved the issue and your customer is satisfied, you may think your job is done. It’s not. It’s important that you return to the initial complaint on whichever social media platform it was lodged and politely respond, confirming that the problem has been resolved. This lets other customers who may have seen the complaint know that it’s been resolved quickly and that you were happy to do so.

Learning how to deal with customer complaints on social media effectively is key to the success of any modern business. Social media is a powerful tool, and is the most popular way customers engage with their favourite businesses and brands. For more tips and techniques for fantastic customer service, have your staff hone their skills with Canity.