We all know what a fantastic marketing tool social media can be, but many brands are still missing the mark when it comes to using social media as a means of providing great customer service.
When the going is good on social media you’ll be able to see site traffic, customer acquisition and even conversions grow. But even when you’re at the top of your game there’s still every chance you’ll receive a wall post or tweet that’s less than complimentary.
This is down to the vast range of complaints and qualms that can take over a social media profile, right down from a general gripe to a full on barrage of abuse the whole world can see and, if they wish, add to.
So what can you do to calm the storm and respond to this kind of interaction before it spirals out of control?
Below I’ve addressed the most common kinds of complaint you might encounter over the course of your social media activity and how best to respond to it so, if one should arise, you can identify a potential situation as soon as possible.
General enquiries like the one seen above are more or less inevitable, especially if you’re a retail business. Everything from a delayed delivery, receiving the wrong order or, indeed, enquiries about product ingredients are all common occurrences. However, the more common a qualm is shouldn’t make it any less urgent!
Tesco took this into consideration and responded to the question above in the best possible way…
Firstly, they made their response personal. Rather than sending a generic ‘speak to our customer service team’ reply they apologised for the problem, expressed their well wishes for the customer’s child and offered a solution that was tailored to the user in question. The staff member, Kaz even told the customer her name.
In social media it’s all about offering unique, personalised solutions rather than a generic customer service pass-over to make users feel like they’re talking to a human being, not a company robot.
Serious complaintsSerious complaints are an increasingly common occurrence across social media channels and can escalate faster than you can say “customer service.” Whether you’ve committed some form of copyright infringement, failed to deliver an order or responded to a complaint in the wrong kind of way, having processes in place for damage limitation on social media is absolutely essential.
Take Next for example. As documented by James Todman last month, what the retail giant could have used as an opportunity to demonstrate how much they value their customers was squandered by an untrained member of staff…
Never, and I repeat never ask a customer to remove a defamatory tweet, especially when they’re so angry in the first place! Not only did it serve to frustrate them more but garnered a much wider response from other Twitter members who picked up on the boo-boo. Social media is a ‘social’ community, which means that the members of sites like Facebook and Twitter are quick to stand up for one another.
Instead, use the opportunity to send a sincere apology and promise to get to the bottom of the problem. Let the user know you’ll keep them in the loop with how the situation is progressing and, for god’s sake, don’t use the word ‘censor’ unless you want to be compared to the militant Chinese government!
Comments from trollsInternet trolling has gotten really prolific over the past year or so and isn’t just limited to school bullies or harrowing comments on tribute pages. Trolls are now regularly posting comments on the social media pages of a range of brands that aim to provoke and enrage. Some of them let rip about how much they hate the brand in question, some of them post torrents of apparently undeserved abuse about a trivial problem and others hijack hashtags for their own amusement. Some even go so far as to hijack a whole account, as Burger King sadly found out last month when their Twitter handle was edited to look like that of McDonald’s, and a stream of offensive updates followed.
Although it took Burger King almost 24 hours to rectify the situation, their response was in good humour and didn’t take offense to what had happened.
That’s the thing with trolls, add more fuel to the fire and you can be sure they’ll keep coming back for more. Instead, pick your battles and try to gauge which comments come top of the agenda. Unlike actual complaints these unnecessary comments don’t require as urgent a response as no real problem will be solved in the long run.
While incidents like Burger Kings are relatively rare, all you need to do to handle more common troll-ish comments is ignore the menial “[insert brand name here] is crap,” and turn your attention to ones that may stem from a personal vendetta like continued bad service. Ask sincere questions to get to the bottom of the problem and, if the barrage of abuse continues with no sign of a solution, just let it go. Don’t be intimidated by colourful language and threats.
Comments from jokersWhile there are plenty of trolls making it their mission to take down a brand, there are also the harmless jokers who just want to get a laugh from other users and, quite often, from the brand themselves.
Tesco, again, respond to comments like this in the best kind of manner. Yes, they could have replied with something witty or inserted a relatable smiley face, but they play along and don’t let whatever’s been said get to them, responding to the comment in a professional manner.
Depending on how big of a company you are and how much budget you can spare from month to month you could even take inspiration from Bodyform, who responded to their own joker with an entire campaign!
You see, it isn’t difficult to handle volatile social situations; you just need to have clear processes in place and have educated whoever will be managing your social accounts in how to deal with them. Though you might not always be able to resolve each question or complaint, the most important thing is that you try and you try in the most effective way possible.
Remember: never delete a comment or ask anyone to censor their qualms – although in some situations no response might be the best response – and never get sucked into an argument. Remain professional, cordial and, most importantly, personal. Generic robotic responses are a sure way of stoking the fire!
Have you had a particularly good or bad experience in dealing with a social media complaint? Tell me about it below!
Featured Image Credit: odimax.com