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How to Handle Customer Complaints Online

How to handle customer complaints online. Seafoam Media St LouisYou put everything into building and maintaining your brand image. We know you are attached to your work and your company. But, when it comes to dealing with your customers, it’s not about you anymore; it’s ALL about them. All emotions have to be left for happy hour, and kept offline.
Social media platforms have become a place that customers go for complaints and customer service. Your brand will get negative feedback on social media.  Did you know that 33 percent of users prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone or email?
As more and more customers head to your social accounts for support, it’s important to remember that they are social platforms. If your customer leaves you a negative comment, what matters most is your ability to connect with them, stay positive, and address their problem.

Follow these 5 tips on how to handle customer complaints:  

1.Don’t Delete Negativity
Always remember: do not delete! If you posted something controversial and are getting negative comments, do not delete the posts or the comments. Deleting does not make your customers feel like you are listening to them and will only make the problem worse. If the customer cared enough to leave the comment, they will leave another once you delete theirs.
The only exception to the rule is if a customer leaves an inappropriate comment (i.e. pornographic, spam, threatening, racist, etc.) Use your best judgment in these cases.
2. Respond Quickly
Consumers usually post negatively because they want a problem fixed. They probably tied to call and were put on hold, or knew no one would respond to them over the phone. They went to your social page for answers and support from others. Try to get to their comment before others do. Consumers expect their problem to be addressed quickly. Try to respond within the hour, or at least before 48 hours have passed. At the same time, make sure you don’t just respond with the first thing you think of; write out a draft, read out loud, and ask yourself, “If I were the complaining customer, would I feel better after reading this response?”
3. If Necessary, Apologize
If you should admit fault, do it right away. This shows you company cares about your customers and have ethics. But, if you are not at fault, it is important to find the middle ground when apologizing so your company can convey empathy while also standing by its standards.
4. Handle it Offline
If you need to move the conversation online, do so. If it is a sensitive issue, the customer may want the special attention of a one –on- one conversation. This can be tricky , because if you attempt to move the conversation offline the customer may lash out that you do not want to address the problem in front of others. The goal of this is to show concern and extend contact information to the worried customer, so it will help the customer swiftly resolve their problem. Do not tell them to move the conversation somewhere else, just suggest and supply the means to do so.
5. Beware of the trolls!
Let’s face it, internet trolls are the worst! They cannot be consoled nor reasoned with. To determine if you’re dealing with a troll or a customer, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the comment applicable to your brand?
  • Is the comment bringing up a concern?
  • Is the comment a constructive complaint that can be solved?

If every answer is an obvious no, you’re most likely dealing with a troll. There are various ways to deal with trolls, from using humor to respond to them, , to ignoring them. If the comment is unnecessarily destructive, derogatory or offensive, this is the time you can delete and report the user. There is also the option of blocking them from your page.
If you need a laugh and to know what NOT to do, check out this parody page ‘customer service’. This is an account crated by comedians to troll big brand’s pages and respond to customer issues. While parody accounts like these are humorous, be wary of them on your brand’s pages!
Social media involves a mix of marketing and public relations for your brand. You’ll need to be able to wear multiple hats to manage your brand if you choose to promote online. By using these tips, you can sufficiently handle negative commentary and show your customers amazing customer service.

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