Social platforms are a powerful force. Forbes notes that social media is now a multi-billion dollar industry, while Ad Week points out that companies no longer enjoy the benefit of brand name recognition driving product sales and consumer satisfaction. Instead, the growing market of “hip, young consumers” are more concerned with a company’s politics — and their social media stance — than the name on their tag or the logo on their shirt.
But many businesses are hesitant to invest in social media, especially given its double role as brand booster and potential pitfall if companies fail to address consumer concerns. The value and variety of social platforms, however, makes them a critical part of any marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at four tips to help your company conquer social media complaints.
Engage the Author
The first thing you need to do after a social media complaint is talk directly to the customer. As noted by Social Media Today, approximately 70 percent of complaints on social media are ignored. If you’re looking to lose consumer loyalty, this is a good way to go since 50 percent of consumers give companies one week to respond before they take their business elsewhere, and 89 percent of customers start doing business with a competitor if the service they receive after a complaint is sub-par. Simple acknowledgement is the way to start. Be polite, be respectful and above all, be fast. Customers expect complaints to be handled ASAP.
Flip the Script
No company wants to have complaints coming in on social media, but less-than-optimal experiences provide the opportunity for improvement. For example, just 42 percent of people who complain on social media believe they’ll receive any type of reply. This creates an opening for savvy companies: quickly move to address concerns and discover the underlying cause and it’s possible to convert adversaries into brand advocates.
Consider the case of Le Pain Quotidien, a bakery chain that aggressively sought feedback, tripled the number of incoming complaints and then addressed recurring issues to improve customer service company wide. To effectively manage feedback and implement social strategies without getting overwhelmed, opt for a tool that automatically monitors and collects all posts about your brand across multiple social platforms, helping you prioritize responses and act quickly to address customer concerns.
Know the History
So now you’re ready to tackle social media complaints, right? Not quite. While customers hate being ignored, they’re also not impressed if companies lack historical and contextual data about their complaint. If consumers are required to explain their issue, purchase history and preferred method of remedy again and again to different staff members across the organization, the chances of an ideal outcome are slim to none. Here, it’s worth considering the use of cloud contact centers to help manage social channels, integrate CRM tools and provide on-demand context for front-line staff.
Consider the Impact
Last but never least, temper your response. Not all customers are reasonable and not all demands can be met, but the adage applies: the customer is always right. Even if you can’t satisfy particular needs or answer specific questions, it’s possible to part ways in a social space without opening yourself up to wider social scorn. Given the public nature of social conversations, restraint and respect are your ideal benchmarks. Best bet? Remember the “Streisand Effect” — attempting to control or influence the flow of social media leaves you vulnerable to the high tide of public ridicule. Always consider the long-term impact of any social response.
Want to attract new consumers and inspire loyalty among existing clientele? Get on social media. Worried about complaints? Make sure you’re ready to engage the author, empower the outcome, examine the history and evaluate the impact.
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