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!

Google’s “Trusted Stores” E-Commerce Certification Program

Google recently announced a new e-commerce certification program called “Trusted Stores”, where stores that go through an approval process with Google will be allowed to add a “Google Trusted Store” badge to their online store.

Google intends for the trusted store badge to give consumers a boost of confidence when shopping online, and it comes with a $1,000 guarantee to cover the purchase… which should really help to increase sales in your online store when the program is up and running.

The way it works is when a visitor to your online store hovers their mouse over the trusted stores badge, a live “report card” type tooltip will pop up. Easy to understand grades like A+, A, B and C are awarded for quality of service features like customer service and fast or reliable shipping.

Right now it’s just a pilot program with a limited number of retailers, but all Spiffy Stores owners can apply to participate by filling out this form. There’s no guarantee that Google will accept your application… as it’s currently only in Beta, and you’ll need a great history of reliable shipping and great customer service for them to even consider your application.

Learn more by watching Google’s overview video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube.