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Handling Customer Complaints Through Social Media


No business likes to get complaints, but it’s even worse if the complaint is made publicly through social media.  Sure, a business can be hurt by poorly handled social media complaints.  But a complaint handled well can actually do wonders to build trust with customers, build loyalty, and actually achieve positive publicity.  Here are some tips for handling customer complaints through social media.

Respond Quickly

Even if you don’t have an answer, at least respond within an hour, to let the customer know you’ve heard their problem and you’re working on it.  Try to provide a time frame for a more detailed response- say 24 hours.  It’s important to offer this level of service even on weekends.  Customers using social media expect prompt responses.

Admit Mistakes

If your business has made a mistake, the best thing to do is to own up to it.  Everyone makes mistakes- social media users will trust you more if you admit you’re human, than if you try to fob it off. By owning up, you can move on to focusing on the solution rather than the problem.

When posting an apology, use a natural tone of voice.  It reminds customers that there is a person on the other side of the account, who is responding genuinely.

Switch Over to Private/Direct Message

In some cases the problem can be readily fixed there on the page- that’s actually a pretty good look.  But if it’s more complex, take the conversation offline away from public viewing.  Ask the customer to Direct Message their contact details to you, or provide a link to your website feedback form.

Respond Personally

Use the customer’s name when you respond to them, and acknowledge their situation.  It really helps if they feel they’ve been heard, as a first step.  Pasting in a standard company response does not make them feel valued.  Let them know how you plan to fix their issue.

Don’t Take It To Heart

Remember that the customer is not angry with you, they’re angry at their situation.  Leave aggression out of your response- it will only make matters worse.

Know Your Company’s Escalation Policy

Larger companies should have this policy in place so all employees know who deals with which issues.   It enables them to find the right person, or gain approval, and handle the matter quickly.

Go Above And Beyond

If it’s an issue that’s out of yours or your company’s hands, try pointing the customer in the right direction for the appropriate product or service.  They’ll appreciate that you’ve gone the extra mile for them.

Follow Up

Check back in after a couple of days to make sure the customer is happy with the response.  Once again, it also makes sure they feel valued.

Notes on deleting comments

Generally speaking, deleting negative comments won’t work- customers will only become more frustrated.  But if someone becomes offensive or inappropriate, you can warn them that their language won’t be tolerated on your page (refer to your Social Media Policy if applicable).  Once they’ve been warned, if the aggression continues you can delete or block them.