Research from Forrester shows that 62% of companies believe social media customer service is their most pressing short-term priority. Complaining via social media is much easier than calling or emailing and from 2014 to 2015 there was an eightfold increase in social media complaints. It is not all bad news, however, as Bain and Company estimate that a successful outcome from a social media customer interaction can result in as much as 40% more revenue from that customer.
So how can your brand keep your customers happy and be seen to handle negative comments on social media in an appropriate way?
Social Media Monitoring
Monitor your reputation on social media. There are plenty of tools to do this – some paid and some free. You can also review the networks yourself on a regular basis. Listening is essential on social media, so find out what is being said about your brand and by whom.
Engage on Social Media
You should take charge of your brand’s online presence and that means engaging with customers. So do not ignore or delete the unfavourable comments, even if totally spurious. Your answers help to form and build your reputation.
Get the Full Story
Look to discover more about the situation. What were the circumstances and how did the customer come to feel aggrieved?
For the full details, it might be worth engaging with the customer offline – via phone or email. This obviously removes the compliant from the social network and can decrease its visibility but many savvy complainers understand this strategy and will stick to their original channel of communication. Be aware that your responses can easily be made public.
Courtesy is crucial, so be clear, be concise (always useful when dealing with limited character counts) and be consistent. Use plain and simple language, avoiding jargon or if jargon is absolutely necessary then explain the words fully.
Say you are sorry and mean it. This sets the tone for your response and it shows that you appreciate your customer’s point of view. It is worth noting that regular apologies, such as those issued by Southern about their persistent delays, will lose their meaning.
Offer a Solution
Look to solve the customer’s issue. They are looking for a resolution and how you help them will greatly affect their perception of your brand.
If you need help handling negative social media for your brand, SRF has the experience to support you and help deal with the complaint, create the right tone and get your brand back on track.