Once upon a time consumer complaints arrived via email, phone or snail mail. These complaints would only be seen by a few people and the damage was limited.

But then social media sites took over our lives!

Now there are several platforms which give online critics a soapbox to vent their frustration to a huge audience.

This is why it’s incredibly important for you to develop a social media marketing plan to deal with social media complaints.

I’m going to guide you through 5 easy ways for handling customer complaints on social media.

  1. Ignore the Complaint

 Yes, sometimes it’s acceptable to ignore the complaint.

If the complaint is abusive and completely ridiculous then you’re well within your rights to ignore it. The problem here is with the individual, not your brand.

 And always do a bit of research on the people making the complaint. Have a look through their social media history. It’s sad to say, but some people make a hobby out of complaining to get free vouchers!

  1. Respond Politely

Never forget that customers mimic your behaviour

So, if they’re angry, respond politely. They’ll calm down amazingly quick.

And it turns your customer’s bad experience into a good experience. These customers are then more likely to remove their complaint from social media.

The bonus is that you’ve probably retained that customer’s future business.

  1. Apologies if You’re Wrong

Sometimes, in business, we make mistakes. We’re only human after all. And it’s no different to making a mistake with a friend.

You need to admit responsibility and apologise.

When you apologise, though, make it sound genuine and heartfelt. For example “I completely understand why you feel this way as it’s completely unacceptable” is a lot more emotive than “We’re sorry you’ve had a bad experience” which fails to accept any blame.

A genuine apology will often resolve most social media complaints and offers you the chance to prevent it happening again.

  1. Delete the Complaint (if It Feels Right)

As discussed earlier, some complaints should be ignored and it’s fine to delete these as part of your social media management.

Likewise, if the situation has been handled offline e.g. you’ve contacted the customer by phone and resolved the issue, you’re well within your rights to send that complaint to the dumpster!

However, if somebody sends a worthy complaint, don’t think you can delete your way out of it. You’ll only antagonise the customer further and they’ll come back again and again.

  1. Ask to Continue the Conversation Offline

Sometimes I’ve had to deal with customers who have a valid complaint, but are very volatile.

And, sure, I’ve thought “Wouldn’t it be great just to delete their comment and block them”, but if the complaint is valid you have to resolve it.

It’s in your brand’s best interest to take these characters off your social media sites asap as their comments can become very damaging. Forward them a number to call instead.

A human voice can engage a customer much more than typed words, so this is sometimes the best option.

By following the five tips above you can really build an awesome social media strategy. Just remember that you need to judge each complaint as it comes. They’ll all be different and require different resolutions. Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

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