We have officially reached the stage in our cultural development where customers would rather whine about issues on social media than address them in person. In my last blog post, I shared a social media customer success story. This time, I will share a few real life examples where customers have reached out through social media about issues that could, and probably should, have been addressed in person or through traditional customer service channels. Each example details suggested responses for similar scenarios.
- "The tomatoes on my sandwich were sliced so thin it was like there were no tomatoes at all!" There are two main issues with this type of interaction: too much time has elapsed to solve the issue, and the issue is subjective. This is a good time to remember that the customer is always right. Your staff member may have thought that the thickness of the tomatoes was fine, or may have been trying to save you money, but the customer is unhappy. It's probably too late to do anything about the sandwich in question, so apologize and find a way to make it right.
- "Ugh! The product broke on its way to me!" This is a typical case of people not knowing how or taking the time to find traditional customer service channels. Apologize, direct them to the right place (and a location where you can get their info without exposing it to the public), and make it right.
- "Your staff person was SO RUDE!" This offended customer simmered about the in-person interaction they had with your business until they had to say something on social media. Maybe they felt uncomfortable asking to speak to someone in person, or maybe they just wanted to rant online. Whatever the reason, apologize, take the interaction out of the public eye, get the details from both sides of the story, and find a way to make the customer walk away happy.
Notice a theme here? The customer is always right. Handling social media complaints with tact and care can turn a negative interaction into a positive relationship. Responding quickly and effectively via social media makes you look good to other customers and prospects as well. And directing confused customers to the proper customer service channels will help prevent future confusion.
When you hire someone to manage your social media accounts, ask them about their experience with and approach to customer service. These days, social media is a customer service resource. Monitor it and treat it as such, or suffer the consequences: even more annoyed customers.