Ignoring Social Media Complaints: Big Opportunity Missed
The dissatisfied customer. In the old days of low technology, the complaints may have never gotten beyond the neighbor’s back fence, or a tersely worded letter. Then came the call center as a medium for customer feedback – which, with its automated menus and long wait times, eventually proved frustrating in its own right.
Today, however, people are taking their vents to the Internet. Third-party sites like Planet Feedback draw posters who name names and list their grievances in the strongest possible terms. Some (un)lucky corporations have even seen dedicated sites, set up by communities of disgruntled users, which detail how a product or service “sucks.” And in the mix, social media has become a large ‘venting ground’ for customer complaints.
Are these complaints being addressed? Largely, no. In fact, according to a UK survey by A T Kearney, 70% of complaints posted on social media are ignored by the companies involved. It’s not from a lack of concern, but rather due to social media’s disconnect with traditional company feedback channels.
This as a huge missed opportunity for your brand!
Going public with complaints
As a brand community manager, your programed reaction may be not to engage with a complainer in Social Media. However, take a different perspective ~ Those complaints are actually an opportunity to showcase your brand in a very positive light.
Even the most discriminating consumer understands that businesses sometimes fail to please the customer – through problems stemming from product or process flaws, or from circumstances beyond the company’s control. What distinguishes the best companies from the rest is how dissatisfaction is addressed.
When you demonstrate complete transparency through your social media marketing, you show you are taking steps to right a wrong. Your efforts will be noted by not only the unhappy commenter but by the many more customers and prospects who see how you are committed to customer satisfaction.
Consider the possibility of not just one customer seeing your amazing attention to customer service, but 1,000’s having the opportunity to do so via the very public channel of social media.
The question remains: How to address the complaint in Social Media?
Practice the LVR Formula:
- Listen ~ A complaint about a product or service can easily escalate into further bad blood if the customer believes he or she is being ignored. Starting your response with a simple “thank you” and “I understand” goes a long way toward establishing empathy. If the customer’s complaint is unclear, ask for clarification in a non-judgmental way. Consider the emotions behind the complaint.
- Validate ~ Everyone has a right to their feelings but customer service pros will always tell you that emotions can get in the way of solutions. Acknowledge the complaint on a friendly, but professional, level in your public comments. This is not about saying, “You are right, we are wrong”. This is about simply validating the consumers right to feel the way they do.
- Redirect ~ This is where you put concern into action. Make your customer your partner in the problem-solving process using the tools of your social media marketing campaign. Redirect him to a helpful blog from your website, for instance, or post a link to a video that shows how to fix a problem, or direct them to your in house customer service team for further addressing of the problem. Given a choice to make, the mind is redirected from the emotion.
Take the lead
Customer complaints don’t have to spell PR disaster in social media. Don't miss the opportunity to take the lead by responding. By showing the same dedication online that you would handling an in-person grievance, you can enhance your image and boost your credibility. And there’s nothing to complain about with that.
Photo Courtesy of bitmask
How would you handle a complaint voiced in a Social Media channel? Does the channel used play a part?