Social media is everywhere. People use it to connect with friends, family and their favourite brands. It’s also a big deal for businesses and their sales. Consumers are 71% more likely to purchase based on a social media referral. And to get those referrals businesses need to be engaged with their audience.

Sometimes your day can be completely made by a customer popping by your wall to let you know how much they loved using your service or product. Other days, you might be kicked in the gut by seeing something negative. The way that complaints are handled on your social media page reflects the tone of your business, more so than your response to compliments. A well articulated and sympathetic response to a complaint can actually have a positive knock-on effect for your business. Acknowledging and prioritising all customer feedback – both positive and negative – shows the level of value that your business places on customer service. It will have an impact on your future business. These tips are here to rescue you from social media faux pas.

1. Respond

Yes, you should have a policy of responding to every complaint that is made on the social media services that you use. Think of this as a way to provide additional customer service to not only your upset customer but also all of the other customers that see it. Your response can go a long way towards letting them know you care about your customers and your reputation. Customers (and potential customers) will see how your company handles complaints and determine if they want to do business with you in the future. Look at the post by one Facebook user about her experience with the customer service at Zulily telling her to donate a coat to the needy rather than shipping it back after they gave her a refund and all the shares and likes of people that have now been exposed to this company. This is the power of social media. Responding to a negative post lets everyone know that you handle complaints in the right manner. Help the customer if the complaint has merit or delete it if it does not.

2. Delete Isn’t Always the Answer

As mentioned in the first tip, delete is a potential answer to a customer complaint that has no merit. There are plenty of social media trolls that could annoy a saint. You should take all customer complaints seriously at first unless it is apparently obvious that it is a troll looking to get a rise out of someone. Customer complaints can be valuable feedback about potential customer service issues. Deleting most or all of your negative comments could backfire. The internet provides a lot of places to make their voices heard. If your unhappy customers feel that they cannot get justice for the injustice they believe has been handed to them by you, you should know that they will probably look for other places to post about their experience. This can be damaging to a company’s reputation.

3. Divert Assistance to Private Communications

Often, the customer that is upset about something may want a refund, replacement or other gesture to address their grievance or you may want to address the problem in this fashion before they ask for it as a sign of goodwill. Either way, this type of information should not be handled through public social media posts. You can respond to their post by acknowledging their problem, offering some solutions, and giving them a way to contact the company to go further with the solution. This helps them to feel better about their experience, and lets others seeing the social media thread know that you have responded in a polite and professional way to make this customer happy. Plus, this could also help with those social media users that are rude or offensive in their responses as it removes them from the public eye.

4. Don’t Walk. Run

The Internet has made most people a little impatient with waiting. Emails, text messages, instant messages, social media posts are sent off immediately to their recipient. No longer do people have to rely on calling during business hours or using snail mail to complain to a company about bad service or a malfunctioning product. They can go online 24/7, and let their thoughts be known. Customers do not really want to wait a week to see a response to their complaint. Of course, researching the issue can take time, but you should post a professional response in about a day or two. A quick response shows that the company is taking them seriously, and wants them to be happy with their treatment.
Good customer service can be an excellent public relations and marketing tool for any business. Not all customer service will be handled through social media, but those that are should be handled in the right way. It may save that customer from un-liking your Facebook page and continuing to do business with you along with creating a reputation that is irresistible to new customers.

To ensure that you are managing your social media in a way that is going to benefit your business, speak to our experts today! Or find out more about our social media packages here.