No matter how hard you work or how superlative your products, services and attention to detail, you are going to receive complaints from time to time. It is a simple fact of business life. Learn to turn complaints into positive PR.
In the not too distant past people would write letters, call a helpdesk or send an email. Today, social media allows anyone with a grievance to air their views in a highly visible way.
No longer can you deal with complaints in private. This is often one of the scariest things for business owners to contend with. They worry that a negative tweet or Facebook post will go viral and potentially damage their brand.
But there’s no need to run for the hills as a complaint presents you with a wonderful positive PR opportunity. A consumer insights survey of more than 5,800 people across the Asia Pacific region by Verint® Systems Inc., illustrates the importance of good customer service on social media.
The results revealed that 53% of consumers will share their customer service experiences on social media sites: 41% expressed a desire to share positive experiences compared to 32% for negative experiences.
Therefore, those companies that provide a superior customer service are more likely to have their followers spread positive word about them.
Here are a few tips on how you can take a negative and turn it into a positive that generates lots of social media love for you:
Respond promptly – you do not have a lot of time to play with. The longer you wait to respond the angrier the person will become and they will not keep quiet about it.
If you are unable to provide them with an answer immediately say so and manage their expectations by outlining when they should expect a response.
Keep it short and sweet: “I’ll look into it and will get back to you by the end of the day”. This should do the trick.
Do not hit delete – never ignore a complaint on social media or worse, delete it altogether. Your action will come back to haunt you.
There is one exception to this rule. Sadly, there are some people in this world who have nothing better to do than to moan.
These are the kinds of individuals who would find fault with paradise. Deal with them calmly and never get on the defensive. If they are rude and abusive, then you can hit delete.
Never give a canned response – remember you are talking to humans so don’t give a bland corporate response. This will turn an already irate consumer into an even angrier one.
Be friendly, courteous and come across like the real person you are. A few kind words and genuine concern about the issue will go a long way in your favour.
‘Fess up if you’ve done something wrong – it may be that you have received a number of complaints about the same thing. This could mean there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
If this is the case, look at the situation with a cool head and explain to your followers what you are doing to resolve the issue. Give them a realistic timeframe and provide updates on your progress.
Keep these discussions out in the open so that everyone can see how well you are handling the problem and that you’re taking the complaint seriously.
This demonstrates you think very highly of your customers and are willing to do whatever is necessary to make things right for them. We all make mistakes from time to time and reasonable people understand this.
Transparency and honesty are highly valued commodities and dealing effectively and openly with an issue will boost your standing. It may even overshadow the original complaint.