How to deal with customers’ online complaints

Posted by Faye on April 7, 2013 in The Social Networks |

A toolkit for handling customer complaints online

Business owners, how are you handling your customer service issues these days? In a previous post I shared my experience with a local heating & cooling company who initially failed to respond to a social media post. I outlined some tips for consumers on how to use the social networks to resolve their customer service problems. It appears that many SMBs are not using the social networks for this purpose. They’ve created Facebook pages and Twitter profiles, but haven’t used them in the manner in which their customers are using them. That’s a problem. online complaint

According to a recent study by LiveOps, 70% of complaints posted by customers on Facebook and Twitter are ignored by small businesses. Meanwhile, these same customers are trashing these businesses online mainly because the business didn’t care enough to respond to their concerns. You certainly don’t want to be losing potential customers to your competitors simply because you aren’t proficient in the technology.

So I thought I would write up a list of things to help you deal with your customers in the social networks.

5 tips for SMBs to address customer complaints online

1. Start by taking control of your online presence. Set up your business profile on Google and Yelp. These two profiles are likely to appear near the top of a Google search of your company, especially if your customers are writing reviews of your business. At the end of this post I’ve included an article listing other sites you might want to check out.

2. Monitor your online presence. Set up Google Alerts for your company. Other listening platforms include Twilerts (Twitter alerts), Social Mention, and Topsy. Sign up to receive emails alerting you to online mentions of your company.

3. Don’t rely on the alerts alone. Monitor review sites on a regular basis to see if people are posting reviews.

4. Most review sites provide businesses the opportunity to respond to reviews and comments. If someone has posted a negative review, use this opportunity to take the conversation offline. Give the customer your email address or your direct phone number and ask him/her to contact you.

5. Are you using Facebook and Twitter for your business? Many of your customers may be talking to you through these platforms. Don’t ignore them. Check your Facebook notifications and your Twitter @mentions regularly. Download the respective mobile apps to your smartphone and you will get regular notifications as soon as someone posts a comment on your Facebook page, or @mentions your company in a tweet.

frustrated consumer

Online is no different than offline

Handle your online customer service issues just like you would offline. Customers just want someone from the company to listen to them and resolve their problems. Most people will give the business an opportunity to correct the problem. The only difference between dealing with customers online vs. offline is the technology.

Remember, Google has a long memory…one unresolved negative review can tarnish your company’s image forever. By continuing to reach out to customers online to solve their problems you’ll develop loyal fans; and maybe even turn those negative reviews into positive ones.

Want to learn more? Here are more resources to help you resolve your customer service issues in the online world:

Five complainer-customer personas and the role of social media

Bristle at customer complaints? That’s the last thing you want to do.

3 reasons why brands need to respond to customer tweets

Social data can improve customer service

Top brands investing in customer service on Twitter

7 local business review sites influencing your new customers

Easy ways to up your social media game

A tragic case of customer relationship mismanagement

Bad customer service interactions more likely to be shared than good ones

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