When you are gathering complaints, you must actively turn to your social media outlets for customer feedback--be it through Twitter, Facebook, or any other channel.
Though it might not seem like a crucial aspect of social media, public complaints management allows your customers and their friends and followers to see and appreciate your response. Other customers on the same thread or page will be able to see how you’ve handled previous complaints, and will be more assured of a timely and efficient response to their own complaint.
Remember, when a customer complains, they are experiencing distress and suffering on some level; the longer they have to wait to have their pain and suffering recognized often causes more anxiety and increases the perceived problem and compensation demanded.
So what’s the first thing you should do in response to a social media complaint from a customer in full public view? Go private, FAST.
Details are personal and private, and should only occur on a private one to one medium. Resolving complaints will most likely require you to gather information from your customer, which you shouldn’t be doing in view of other customers or competitors.
Provide your customer with another communication channel such as an email or phone number, or privately message the customer for more information about the complaint.
Once a complaint is made, you must acknowledge it by responding to it with a statement similar to this:
“I’m sorry that you have experienced this, I will take control of getting this fixed for you, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 1800 354….”
Take the example below, done using Facebook messenger--a private channel. Note that this type of message allows you to ask for more detailed information either directly within the message, or as shown in this example, as a form.
Private messages also allow you to directly ask for feedback from your customer, thus establishing a sense of immediacy and trust. By replying in a friendly and helpful manner, you’ve proven to your customer that you are reliable and actually care to solve their problems.
On the other hand, you may choose to keep things on a public channel--but only if the complaint is simple and can be immediately solved. Just remember that the internet is forever--what you say is visible to everyone and can be used against you.
So keep public conversations professional and divert detailed conversations to private channels.
Even after you’ve resolved a complaint, keep an eye out for the conversation thread. Other customers or friends of the original poster might choose to comment on them after the fact, so you’ll need to make sure you follow up. Also be sure to place positive comments (eg: “We appreciate your patience and are working closely with ‘Mary’ to resolve this matter urgently”) that attempts to neutralise further negative dialog.
Accidently (or purposely) ignoring a complaint, however tedious, might lead to negativity and a barrage of comments that would’ve otherwise been unnecessary.
The very last step your management team should take is that of closure.
Don’t leave resolved comments open-ended; always let your customers know that you welcomed their feedback and hope to deliver high quality service. These don’t have to be on specific comments, as you can always post a tweet or status empathizing with your customers and letting them know that you are happy to help them.
It’s important to let people know that you welcome and appreciate comments and criticisms, as their feedback helps shape and improve problems you might have otherwise overlooked.