How to Handle Negative Customer Interactions on Social Media

by | Social Media

One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it gives both customers and businesses quick, direct access to one another. It can be a great communication tool, improving your brand and boosting your business’s stature among customers. However, it also opens up the possibility of negative customer interactions that have the potential to spiral quickly. Here’s how to handle tough situations the right way:

Stay aware

You can’t respond to customers if you don’t know what they’re saying. Stay aware of what people are sharing by keeping tabs on your brand and business online. Use Google Alerts to see when your business is mentioned somewhere on the web, whether it’s a forum, blog, social site, etc. Read comments left on your social media accounts, both public and private. The sooner you’re aware of a potentially negative situation, the sooner you can respond appropriately and nip it in the bud.

Respond right away

With social media, speed matters. Word spreads faster than ever today, so you need to be quick to get a handle on a situation with an unhappy customer. Take a deep breath before you respond, and always avoid going negative.

Acknowledge their anger and/or frustration

It’s never nice to hear from an unhappy customer, but you should immediately acknowledge their anger or frustration. Let them know that you understand why they’re unsatisfied. It’s the first step in toning down their frustration.

Apologize and ask how to make it right

After acknowledging the customer’s issue, take the opportunity to apologize if your business is at fault. Try to see the situation from their point of view. You may not agree entirely, but they’ll want to hear that you’re sorry. Ask them how you can make it right, whether it’s with a refund, a product replacement, additional services at no charge, etc. They may already know what they want, so give them the chance to say what it is.

Follow up when appropriate

If you made a concrete offer to make things right with the customer and they’re receptive, follow up. Take action to remedy the situation. After a public apology, it may be best to switch over to a personal message. This will allow you to communicate more directly and thoroughly with the customer. Reaching out to them privately is a great way to resolve the issue and hopefully satisfy their concerns out of the public eye.

Know how to identify trolls

Not every negative interaction is due to a genuine customer concern. As you likely already know, there are many people lurking online who delight in simply starting trouble for others. Trolling is when one of these folks purposely provokes with the hope of receiving a response, hence the term “feeding the trolls”. Know when to cut off the communication if the messages become aggressive, verbally abusive, or derogatory. Trolls aren’t worth your time, so it’s best to simply ignore them.

No business likes to find itself having negative customer interactions on social media. Follow these steps to ensure that you handle it in the best way possible. By doing so, you’ll hopefully be able to turn a bad experience into a more positive one for both you and the customer.

Need more advice in handling tough situations on social media? We can help. Contact us today!