Social Media is a great tool for offering help to your customer and by doing so, creating a customer for life. How do you assist a customer who reaches out (to you) on Social Media to ensure that your customer is satisfied? Before the advent of Social Media, customer complaints could be easily ‘nipped in the bud’, or even ‘swept under the carpet’. Today, customer complaints are increasingly being channeled through the very public social media platforms. This week we examine 3 cases of customer complaints on social media and how they were handled.
Case 1 – Figure 1 and 2
Ignorance: You may be unaware of your customer’s sentiments, but it may still be out there on Social Media. Even when your brand has a Social Media presence, your customer might not air their grievances directly to you.
Global platform: Social Media gives a global platform to your customer’s posts and they have the potential to go viral, depending on their network. They may get an audience which is bigger than the few people they could complain to, prior to Social Media. Your brand can be easily scathed from such posts which have the potential to go viral. See figure 1.
This customer’s review was posted on his personal Facebook page, not the brand’s page. See figure 2.
1 – It got a comment from a friend of his in Uganda…confirming some of the issues he raised.
2 – Another friend corroborated the story
3 – She went ahead to tag 3 friends and the story took on a life of its own…
Case 2 – Figure 3
Choice of platform: Even if your customer complains directly to you, it may not be on the relevant platform. So if you have a Vine account, your customer may be going there to vent even though you are most active on Facebook. See figure 3.
This customer was complaining about ‘open hours’ on Facebook but posted this complaint on the brand’s Instagram page. The mere fact that a brand is present on social media is an ‘open for business’ sign for the customer. Your brand has ‘set up shop’ and you cannot afford to ignore communication directed at or about you. To the customer, a brand’s presence on Social Media implies that it is there to listen and respond and must realize that a significant part of their audience is seeking some form of customer support.
In the event that your customer contacts you directly or indirectly with his grievance, let your response be timely, accurate and consistent.
The manner in which you craft your response is very important to ensure your customer is satisfied at the end of the day. You have to decide if the customer query requires you to be formal or informal (with smileys and other emojis). Your response should be sensitive, brief, friendly.
Case 3 – See figure 4, 5 and 6
Scripts: Condescending, scripted, we are sorry, next person/any other issues answers will not go down well with distraught customers.
In figure 4, the customer complains directly to the brand (a popular Fast-food joint). This appraisal was posted on the brand’s page. Could this brand have crafted out a better response to this customer’s issue? Was the response the ‘any other issues’ response he got the best? Kindly let me know your views in the comments below.
Figure 5 is one of a customer expressing his displeasure about a service he received on a Facebook group page – not on the company’s page.
Social Listening: involves monitoring, identifying and assessing what is being said about a company, individual, product or brand on the Internet. As we discussed earlier, your customer may have a complaint but may not speak directly to you about it. Discussions about your brand will go on Social Media with whether your brand is on Social Media.Social listening helps keep track of communication about your brand. You can remedy certain situations and prevent issues from generating into full blown scandals with social listening. In figure 6, there is an attempt to remedy a customer complaint, though the customer was not addressed directly. What do you think of the response to the customer’s friend on the Facebook group page?
Figure 6 – Someone reacts on the brands behalf with the following: “Hi Fatima, you are right, we have a few new managers as some of the managers that started with his had their contract finished and we preferred to bring new people. Our new managers are very experienced and coming from high standard venues. We will definitely find out what happened today and make sure it does not happen again. Thank you.” (sic)
Now let’s compare Figure 4 with Figure 6.
It is important to create avenues on Social Media for your customers to contact you in the event of any grievance with your product or service.
Here are some tips for giving a fitting response to customer complaints:
- First of all access the state of emotions especially if you are responding to a complaint or a comment made out of frustration or anger.
- Empathize and apologize.
- Ask for time or the necessary information to solve the problem
After the issue has been resolved, return to the original message/comment to thank the customer for reaching out.
Take the making lemonades out of lemons stance when dealing with negative criticisms and complaints on Social Media. That angry comment/complaint is still a customer reaching out and crying for help. How can you manage that situation?
Especially in a market where customers can buy from anywhere and prices are relatively the same Social Customer Service can be your competitive advantage. Use Social Media coupled with your other offline efforts to sell an experience – an exceptional one. For more free resources on Social Customer Service please kindly read my previous articles on Social Customer Service click the picture below: