Social Media, one of the most powerful weapons in a companies arsenal, is becoming an increasingly common area for ventilation and frustration from angry customers. What were to happen if the customer base were to overtake that grand weapon and turn it against you? Well, many things could possibly happen. But the point of this article is to share with our readers how to sedate these angry customers without any collateral damage in the process.
According to Scott Levy in his article about What to Do When Customers Get Mean on Social Media, there are two types of customers that you can (and will) encounter if you ever own your own business with an online social medium. Levy states the two types are:
- A person who was genuinely hoping for a good experience with your product or service, had a bad experience and simply wants to vent and seek acknowledgment or a solution.
- Someone who actively uses social media to dissuade people from doing business with your company, and probably doesn’t care about your reply to his or her claims. This person hopes you do reply so he or she can drag you into a public fight.
Whether you are dealing with the unsatisfied customer or the brand terrorist, you must subdue them in a manner that shows everyone else you have the deepest condolences and will do whatever is necessary to make the customer happy. With this, you can turn any opposition into a friendly force and gain even more customers!
Now that we know who to watch out for and why we must subdue these customers before any damage can be done, lets break down the top 5 ways to proceed. All of the strategies to responding to angry customers are courtesy of Scott Levy.
1. Respond quickly. The longer someone waits for a reply the more steamed that person can become. Let the individual know publicly that you have heard his or her frustration or problem and that you’re on it.
2. Never show anger or engage in negative banter. Don’t stoop to an angry commentor’s level, as it can quickly escalate. Taking the high road and not replying with negativity sets you up for the win in the eyes of anyone who’s following along.
3. Be personal. The employees who manage your social media should sign their tweets or posts with their names or at least their initials to make the engagement more personable and real. Also be sure to address the customer by his or her name.
4. Work toward a resolution. Let the customer know that you’re going to do everything within your power to make the situation right. Don’t simply attempt to calm someone down and walk away.
5. Talk offline when necessary. Use direct messages on Twitter or email if the discussion is detailed. At least the initial response should be public, though, to let everyone know that you’re on the issue and that you care.
When everything is finally said and done, make sure the community knows the outcome of the situation. If no one ever hears what happened, they will assume the worst and may end up beginning to have doubts about the company themselves. This provides your online audience the comfort that you can give outstanding customer service.
But should the customer keep pestering you, even after a resolution was thought to have been reached, the only possible way to get rid of the customer is to let themselves burn out. Keep being the polite, customer loving company and let the community turn on them. If that doesn’t work, then your last resort is the good ole User Ban tool. Just make sure to share with the community that everything that could be done, was, and that they were simply out for blood. Based on your previous acts of compassion, the audience will surely understand (if not thank you) for getting rid of them.