Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.
Eighty-nine percent of customers will stop doing business with a company after receiving poor customer service. How does this happen?
It’s simple: Customers are leaving companies where management doesn't take the time to understand their needs. The last thing any business owner wants is for his or her business to lose a customer because they were unable to deal with their angry complaint, so in this post you'll learn the 5 key ways your business can calm down angry customers on social media.
1) Listen before you respond
The primary reason your customers are angry on social media is because they feel their views aren’t being heard.Before responding to an angry customer on social media, make sure you take the time to listen to their situation in full. The last thing your customers want to see is a copy & pasted reply – in fact, this may only make matters worse, especially if the response doesn’t even apply to your fan’s unique query or situation.With so many comments appearing every day on your social channels, it’s important to realize that while some of the queries may be similar, each customer’s situation is not.In these situations, it’s perfectly OK to use a stock reply, as long as you tailor the response to suit the individual & their unique situation. This will help calm down an angry customer, as the response has been personalized directly for them, which shows you have understood their unique query & are now making an effort to help them resolve it.
2) Understand the situation
When customers approach your social channels with a complaint, it’s because they are looking for someone to understand their situation & help them to find a solution. Nothing makes your fans more frustrated than receiving support for a query that does not help resolve their issue. That's why you want to show empathy when dealing with angry customers. This means looking at the situation from the customer’s point of view & taking the time to understand their unique issue & what is causing them frustration. To help put your angry customer’s mind at ease, you want to show transparency & outline exactly how you will fix the situation & the steps needed to find a solution. This helps to calm them down & build trust, as they now fully understand the process involved in helping deliver their solution.
3) Don't make them wait too long for a response
If there’s one thing that’s going to make an upset customer even angrier on social media, it’s making them wait. While you may be looking into the issue for the customer, not providing a response is actually causing you more harm than good. To avoid this, you want to aim to respond to the majority of your customers within 2 hours. This doesn’t mean you have to come up with a solution in that time, but do let them know you are looking into it. This shows them you have acknowledged the issue & are actively working on resolving it. Never delete a comment from a customer on social media – Their feedback will help your business to grow.Not all your customers will vent via your social channels. That is why you want to ensure you also monitor mentions of your company to help keep track of what is being said. This also allows you to jump in & help the customer before the situation escalates.
4) Follow up
Never assume you have resolved the customer’s issue on social media the first time around. Always look to follow up.Once you have helped a customer with an issue on social media, it does not necessarily mean the issue has been resolved. You may have given them instructions on how they can fix their issue or deal with their complaint, but to ensure your customers are truly happy, you want to make sure you follow up. This means contacting the customer via social media a few days after the issue has been raised to see how they are getting on. This lets the customer know you value their feedback & helps to build trust. Following up also means keeping track of previous communications with the customer. The last thing you want to do is frustrate your customer even more by repeating an issue they have already raised. Whether you are keeping track of complaints through software or email, ensure you review the customer’s details before creating a response. This also helps to save time, as you can deal with the issue directly rather than asking the customer the same questions they may have already answered.
5) Take Ownership
The customer may not always be right, but you should never point the blame their way.When angry customers contact your company on social media, they are looking for someone who can take responsibility for the issue & help them to resolve it. While this may sound obvious, a lot of companies still pass on customer queries to multiple departments & through different contact points. This is only going to make your customer even more frustrated. The better route is to take ownership of the issue right away. This means letting the customer know you are personally looking into the issue for them & will help them to find a solution. In cases where the customer is blaming the company, this also means apologizing & empathizing with the customer’s situation. This lets the customer know you have acknowledged the issue & allows you to move on, compared to passing the blame on to a different department or worse -- back at the customer.
It’s important to realize when dealing with angry customers on social media that their views toward you are not personal. Your customers are simply frustrated at the situation -- - not you as an individual. Now you can’t always please every customer, but you can do your best to empathize with their situation. You also want to make sure your support is consistent on all social channels & not just on one. Lastly, remember that long-term customers create long-term results, so focusing on turning your customers’ negative experience into a positive one is key for long term growth & success. Ravi Shukle is the Guardian of Customer Happiness who loves to help businesses create happy customers for life through customer service.
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