Essential do’s and don’ts when a customer complains on social media

Essential do’s and don’ts when a customer complains on social media

Have you ever had a complaint on social media?

Today, more and more people take to social media to make a complaint.  But there is such a huge difference in how businesses deal with these complaints.

If you get a complaint on social media, do you want to keep that client who complains (and create a raving superfan for your business) or just get rid of them (and take others with them)?

Things go wrong.  If they don’t, you probably aren’t that busy or aren’t trying hard enough.

And this past week two retail giants had major problems.  Their websites broke!  Sainsbury’s was online but whatever search went in ended in ‘no results’ available.  Boots UK site was completely down and simply couldn’t be accessed.

Sod’s law dictated these problems happened on the very day that I was trying to do some online ordering.  After numerous frustrated attempts to order what I wanted, I gave up and took to Twitter to ask when they would have their problems rectified.

Within minutes of my tweet to Sainsbury’s, they responded to say they had checked and yes, there was a problem and would report back to me.  In a short while, they tweeted me again to say they were doing their best to rectify the problem and would I bear with them and try to order in a few hours time.

Boots?  The silence was deafening!  No response at all.

Later that evening Sainsbury’s asked if I would send them a contact number so they could speak to me direct.  I duly sent this and they called me to say the site was back up and had I managed to place my order.  I told them that I hadn’t placed my order as time had run out and I had gone elsewhere.   They apologised profusely for the inconvenience caused, told me how much they valued my custom and immediately sent me an e-voucher.

I was impressed.

Boots?  After sending a second tweet they responded 48 hours later to say their site had only been down for one hour.  Utter rubbish, it was down for over 6 hours!  And no further correspondence was had from them.

So what can you learn from these two companies and the way they handled a problem?  As I am sure you can guess, it’s not rocket science.

What to do when you get a complaint on social media

If you get a complaint or a client/customer flags up a problem try the following:

  • Immediately acknowledge there is a problem and it will be looked into
  • Ask for contact details to take the complaint off line
  • Inform the client of when they can expect a response
  • Respond
  • Let them know what went wrong and what has been done to rectify the problem
  • If you and your business were not at fault, there has still been a misunderstanding of some sort so acknowledge this and look into ways of ensuring the misunderstanding or problem does not happen again
  • Let them know how much you value their custom and apologise for inconvenience caused
  • Go over and above to make them feel special and offer them a freebie/voucher or similar to show you genuinely care

This is an effective way of regaining trust and credibility with the client and retaining their custom.

It is also possible they will be so impressed that they will turn back to social media to say how impressed they were with how your problem was handled, raising awareness of your business to others.

 

What not to do when you get a complaint on social media:

  • Ignore them
  • Deny there was a problem – this is basically calling them a liar – not recommended as insult will be taken
  • Get into a public argument
  • Do absolutely nothing to let them know you value their custom

If you do the above, you are most likely to lose their custom forever (there are plenty of other places to buy the same products and services from).

It is also quite probable that the client will take to social media to highlight your poor attitude giving a bad impression of your business to others who may have been thinking of buying from you and will now go look elsewhere.

 

Create a customer care policy

If you don’t have a customer care policy in place, go create one now.  It doesn’t matter if you are a one woman band or a multi-million corporation.  The principle is exactly the same.

Hopefully, you will never have to use it but as the boy scouts famously state, it is always good to be prepared.