Top tips for dealing with complaints on social media

Some brands fear social media for the power it gives to customers. In reality, customers can talk about your brand on social networks regardless of your presence. It makes sense therefore to try and manage those discussions in a way that won’t damage brand reputation and embraces the opportunities that engagement with potential and existing customers can bring.

One reoccurring question on the topic of social media is how best to deal with complaints. Below are five top tips of how to manage the process.

Ensure you respond to any complaints in a timely fashion. Social media is just like any other customer engagement tool. If you’re left on hold on the end of a telephone for 10 minutes it can be highly irritating. the same applies to social media, quick responses are becoming an expectation. It can also help to reduce the likelihood of multiple posts from the same user, which could be damaging to your brand.

Move the complaint into a private conversation. One of the great things about social media is that it is public. However, this means negative comments about your brand potentially have great reach. 41 per cent of UK internet users trust strangers’ comments so it’s critical that you encourage users to discuss the complaint in a private message. A good way to do this is to ask for a full summary of the issue and personal contact information for follow up.

Be as open and honest as possible. Customers appreciate transparency and this needs to be considered for complaints through social media. If you aren’t equipped to resolve the complaint immediately, ensure you respond and acknowledge the user so they know they are being listened to and their issue is being addressed accordingly.

Remember you’re still talking to human beings. Standardised posts are easily recognisable and these can make users irate if they feel they aren’t being listened to. Make sure responses are personalised, use names where possible. Those complaining can be angry so don’t get defensive, try to empathise with the situation.

Be prepared for others to contribute. 42 per cent of internet users in the UK write comments to ‘help’ others; this is often the case with social media and complaints. People often feel they can offer assistance and advice to resolve the problem, so be prepared for others to share their views on the issue.