Tuesday 04 November, 2014

Social Media Customer Service – How to Turn an Angry Customer into a PR Goldmine

It’s inevitably going to happen. No matter how great your products or customer service, someone is going to be unhappy with your services and take it to social media. Social media is wonderful because it provides an opportunity for direct communication. But it may not seem so great when someone uses it to badmouth your company and cause potential reputation damage.

First of all, you should realize that a negative comment on social media won’t sink your online business. The people that tell you that are usually trying to sell you their reputation management services. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about social media comments.

In fact, you can turn an angry customer into a great PR opportunity. You can take this chance to show other social media users how your company cares. Here is how you do that.

Three Social Media Customer Service Don’ts

Before we get to what you should do, here are three things you should NOT do:

* Miss the negative comment. Sign up for alerts so that whenever something is posted about your company, you’ll be notified. You can’t respond if you don’t see it.
* Take your sweet time. You need to respond to negative comments on social media quickly. This is a key part of making the customer happy. It also allows you to take control of the situation before too many other people see the post.
* Take it behind closed doors. Don’t engage with the commenter privately. Do everything out in the open so that others can see.

Reply for Other Users

Although the purpose of your reply is to placate the individual who left the negative comment, write for others to see. That’s the key to making this situation work for you. Other people will read the exchange. It needs to show you in a good light and tell them that you’re a company that cares.

You can make sure you keep it focused on others by imagining that you’re just a reader. Write your responses and read over them before you hit the button to post. Imagine that you’re another user. What do you feel about a company that says this?

What to Respond

What you respond to the person depends on the situation. In fact, there are some cases where you shouldn’t respond at all. If the person is a troll and they’re just trying to start a fight, don’t worry about it. Again, look at it from the point of view of those who see the post. If it’s not legit, they’ll see that also.

What you reply needs to be unfailingly friendly and positive. Thank the person for their feedback and say you’re sorry they had a bad experience. Don’t apologize for your mistake unless you actually made one, but give them a sympathetic apology that recognizes their feelings.

As you write, focus on solutions. How can you make them happy? What can you do to make it right? Sometimes complaints arise out of unreasonable expectations or a misunderstanding of your business’s service. If this is the case, clarify your policies. You may want to offer some gift or freebie as a condolence or to apologize for the confusion.

Company Protocols

Create company protocols for dealing with irate customers on social media. Even if your company is only you, you should have a process for dealing with customers that includes ideas on what to say in various situations. If you have multiple employees, this will keep them all on the same page.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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