Social Media Complaints, the Do’s and Don’ts
It’s becoming increasingly important to be able to effectively field social media complaints;
with businesses expected to have a strong presence on different social networks, neglecting
customer problems can make you look uncaring, and can lead to significant publicity damage
if not handled correctly. In this context, it’s vital that you respond promptly to social media
complaints, and that you take precautions to avoid embarrassing leaks, and messages that
break with company policy. With this in mind, some do’s and don’ts to consider for your
social media complaints include:
Respond as Soon as Possible
Any complaints that aren’t picked up on the same day can quickly escalate, and can be
viewed as a sign that you’re not responding to complaints. Have someone in the office who
checks different feeds, and is well acquainted with your company’s policy on how to deal
with different queries.
If you have a presence on multiple networks, consider using a web app like Google Alerts,
which can be a useful way of notifying you when something new is posted to your feed;
having Google Reader and other metrics programs installed can also allow you track activity
across your different social media platforms.
Apologise if Necessary
Sometimes problems can be the result of human error, or they might be due to wider
problems with a product. If you do need to, apologise appropriately, and try to give as
measured a response as possible. For major complaints, consider a special blog post or video
that responds to multiple problems.
Build a Dialogue with Users
Customers can become a powerful source of information on social networks, but only if you
treat them properly - customers may be able to spot typos on your website, or can alert you to
when someone has sabotaged a page with spam.
Use the Right Tone
You want to be personal in your replies, but too friendly - the ideal tone should be polite, and
able to provide more details if necessary.
Even if you sense that the complaint someone is making is minor, try to respond to every one
with a measured response. Some messages, however, will be clearly spam, so try to set up
filters and monitors to make sure that your social networks don’t get clogged with spam, and
that real users cannot get through to you.
Get Dragged Into a Fight
It can be easy on social media sites to get drawn into arguments and fights; don’t get annoyed
and emotional, and always get help if you sense that you’re becoming frustrated with a
conversation. Having a public argument on Twitter or Facebook is ultimately not going to be
great for your company’s brand.
Rely on Automated Responses
While it can be useful to have automated responses and FAQ pages for popular questions,
always make sure that someone can take a complaint personally - moreover, if your office is
closed for a holiday, always keep a message in place that will remind users that no-one will
be able to reply to complaints.
A business that uses feedback, whether positive or negative, from social media networks can
adapt and become better; a business that demonstrates great customer support and awareness
of how to use social networks will also be able to strengthen brand loyalty.
Neglect Social Media Training
Make sure that anyone that’s posting on behalf of your company is trained in social media,
and knows when not to take the wrong tone with users; you also want to avoid someone
accidentally using an official company handle or hash tag to post something personal. Having
training, and a chain of command for social media officers, will make it much easier to avoid
Rob James is an online marketer who highly recommends web development agency Boxmodeldigital. Rob can be
found blogging about a variety of technology related subjects, including computer hardware,
mobile apps, web development, and SEO techniques.