August 14, 2015 Ferguson Advertising

At your service

Pop quiz! You’re sitting at your desk, minding your own business, working away…when your phone buzzes. It’s a notification telling you that someone has posted to your brand’s Facebook page. You quickly check the page and see the post is from a customer who’s had a “less than ideal” experience with your product and/or service and wants everyone in the western hemisphere to know about it. There is a charming menagerie of ALL-CAPS, multiple exclamation points!!!!! and run-on sentences.

The question, then: What do you do?

Your instinct may be to simply delete it. And if it’s outrightly hostile or vulgar, then that’s almost always the right call. If the post is just angry, on the other hand, deleting it can make the situation worse – and cause you to miss out on an opportunity for a customer service success story.

First things first: Odds are becoming increasingly likely that, if you haven’t already experienced such an encounter on Facebook or Twitter, you will soon. A recently released report said that 47 percent of social media users have sought out customer service on social platforms – and that the trend is growing across all age groups. In addition, more than 95 percent of customers say they’re influenced by what other people say about brands on social media. If they have a bad experience, they’re going to let others know. On the other hand, if they have a bad experience that is made right by effective social listening and prompt, attentive customer service, they’re going to let others know. Which scenario would you prefer?

Assuming it’s the latter, having – and understanding – a process for handling customer complaints on social is crucial. While each situation is unique to some extent, knowing the process makes you more efficient and effective in successfully handling these complaints. The good news: the process is as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Acknowledge the issue. Do this before you even determine the validity of the complaint itself. Simply acknowledging it with a “We’re sorry to hear that…” shows the customer you are listening and paying attention.
  2. Move it offline. Avoid a back-and-forth conversation right there in front of everyone at all costs. Offer up either an email address or phone number (or both) along with a specific name (if possible). Not only does having a more private, one-on-one conversation increase the chances of a successful outcome, but making the offer puts the responsibility back on the customer. If they are serious about seeing the situation through to a resolution, they’ll reach out. If not, they won’t. And then you can feel better about removing the comment or post after a fair amount of time has passed.
  3. Follow up. After you’ve had your private, one-on-one conversation – and assuming you’ve found a way to positively resolve the situation – now is the time to circle back to the original post and share a quick follow-up. Simply offering a thanks for bringing the concern to your attention and for reaching out, along with asking if there’s anything else you can do, lets everyone else in your audience see that the situation was resolved successfully. And that’s where you build – or build upon – your reputation for customer service.

While each situation is unique, remembering and following this process will invariably position you for the most successful outcome almost every time. Which means there’s no reason to panic the next time you see ALL CAPS.

Simple Share Buttons