How to handle customer complaints on social media

how-to-handle-customer-complaints-on-social-mediaIt’s inevitable in business. Now and again you’re going to do something that annoys a customer and they’ll want to complain about it.

Dissatisfied customers used to pick up the phone or pen you a stern letter to air their grievances. But now it’s easier, and perhaps more satisfying for them, to jump onto social media and give your business a good ear bashing in full public view.

It’s like your dirty laundry hanging out for the world to see.

Fret not! You can take steps to improve the situation. Here are some suggestions for dealing with those unmentionables.


DO keep your virtual ears open for signs of discontent

Monitoring what’s being said about your business online will give you valuable insights in general, but it will also alert you to customer issues that need addressing.

Check your social networks for new comments every day and sign up for free tools like Google Alerts and Social Mention so you watch for conversations across the wider web.

DO keep any negativity in perspective

People are more likely to shout out when they’re unhappy than when everything is just fine. See a negative review or comment as an opportunity to improve and impress.

DO respond quickly

As soon as you’re aware of a problem, jump in and respond. The longer you leave it, the more disillusioned the individual may grow as they feel you’re not listening to them.

DO take action

Unhappy customers don’t just want an apology – they want to know how you’re going to fix their problem. If you’ve mucked up, apologise sincerely and explain what you are going to do to rectify the situation. Show them you’re human and show you care.

If the complaint is a misconception, reply with polite but factual information.

DO take the conversation offline if you need to

Once you have publicly acknowledged the feedback, take angry or aggressive customers away from the public forum and resolve their issues by phone or email directly. You can return to the public forum once the issue is resolved to post a friendly follow up.


DON’T ignore or delete negative comments

You’ll infuriate an unhappy customer if you ignore or delete their feedback and this can lead to further aggravated remarks. Reply to negative comments openly and respectfully and only delete comments if they are actually offensive or illegal.

DON’T get emotional

Whilst it’s natural to feel defensive when your business is under attack, put your emotions aside whilst you deal with the complaint. Try to understand that your customer is just disappointed because you didn’t meet their expectations in some way.

DON’T keep your strategy for handling complaints to yourself

Make sure any of your staff that may be exposed to negative comments about your business understands how you want them handled.

Overall, focus on giving your customers a great experience. Lessen the likelihood of negative feedback by always putting the customer first. After all, prevention is better than cure!

This entry was posted in Marketing & SEO, Show All and tagged , by Alison Hardy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Alison Hardy

Alison Hardy Alison is a freelance copywriter and content marketer. She specialises in dynamic online copy that helps small businesses reach and connect with the people that need them.

With a Southern Pommie accent and an unAustralian dislike for seafood, Alison came to Australia at the end of the last century. Despite these obvious disadvantages, she was offered a job in the ecommerce department of a local Internet company and has been working in digital communications ever since.

In the heady days of the first dot com boom, before she became a queen of copy, Alison helped produce websites. But project management wasn’t creative enough for this sassy lassie so she switched her attention to marketing and communications. Much more fun!

She spent the next 10 years in marketing roles, promoting businesses in the education, art, technology and online retail industries. This invariably involved writing persuasive copy online, offline and sometimes even in the line at the post office. Her talents helped her produce powerful copy for a wide range of purposes like websites, flyers, adverts, enewsletters, emails, social media and blog posts.

In 2012, she became one of the growing number of fearless people who take a leap of faith to work for themselves. Nowadays, you will find her in her slippers with a cat on her lap, wrestling sentences to create smart content to bring businesses to life.

A wordsmith, online champion, creative problem solver and a lover of strong tea, Alison has been working with us at Spiffy Stores for many years. She has helped us with marketing advice and writing content for our website, blog and knowledge base.

She’s pretty nice to work with, and thankfully has learnt to polish off a prawn or two so she can’t be all that bad. If you would like to hire her to write great copy for your website or marketing materials, visit for samples of work and her contact details.