Dealing with customer complaints effectively via social media

The last few years have seen social media becoming increasingly important as part of every b2c company’s marketing mix.

There are many benefits of running social media accounts; it gives your company an opportunity to showcase their products, lets customers know about any special offers and sales, helps you reach out to potential new customers and lets followers in on the behind the scenes workplace culture.

A brand will seem more human and friendly when they share their workplace via social media. There is one main downside however – unhappy customers are suddenly  airing their displeasure publicly, and how you handle this can make a huge impact on how everyone  sees your company and its customer service approach.

It is imperative that you deal with bad feedback via your social media accounts quickly, effectively and fairly. Here are our top pointers: ( Guest Post )

Take it off-line as quickly as possible

You want to show your fans and followers that you deal with problems quickly, but the less they see of an angry customer’s gripe, the better.

Ask the unhappy customer to direct message you their contact number so that a member of your customer service team can call them straight away. This will avoid an angry escalation back and forth in the public arena, and means that the problem is properly and swiftly dealt with.

Always reply, and fast

There is nothing worse than ignoring or deleting a negative comment. This looks dishonest and as though you are unconcerned about the customer’s problem. Your wider customer base will see this and presume that if something goes wrong with an order they make or a product is faulty you will be difficult to reach and deal with, and hesitant to help.

Don’t encourage trolling

Sometimes a person may be deliberately trying to cause trouble and damage your brand for no good reason. If you have done all you can to try and deal with such a person and they just seem to be getting worse, it is probably best to bow out of the conversation. In most cases they will give up when they no longer get a reaction from you.

Learn from negative feedback

Although negative feedback about your products or brand isn’t a nice thing, if you start to notice a pattern or common theme it can actually be very beneficial to help you improve your service. Your social media audience is your largest and least biased focus group, so listen to what they say, and look at any other channels, like Tripadvisor, blogs or review sites where applicable.

Prepare your staff for complaints

It is important that the staff members who are running your social media accounts have a clear plan in place for their approach to complaints before they happen. They need to be able to react appropriately and quickly when a problem arises, so they aren’t left in a position where they are panicking or unsure what to do. You should let your staff know what departments each kind of complaint is passed on to, and have a plan for each comment type.

Be transparent about your operating hours

Let your customers know the hours for which your social media accounts will be managed and alternative emails to contact the company by out of these times. If an unhappy customer contacts your company when your social media manager has a week off for Christmas for instance, they aren’t going to be too happy about it.

Many companies now attach their facebook accounts to a staff member’s personal account. This way the staff member can reply to complaints outside of office hours, if they are happy for this to be part of their role.


Emily Bradbury is writing on behalf of Superdream, a digital agency offering web design in the midlands, as well as social media management, graphic design and copywriting services.

Published by

Ohad Oren

Ohad Oren is Co-Founder and COO of ONDiGO. Prior to ONDiGO he Co-founded several start-ups. Ohad has years of experience in Sales and Business Management. You can follow him on twitter on @OrenOhad

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