If you are a business – no matter how wonderful or successful – you will get occasional product or service complaints on social media. You can choose to be angry (and who could blame you), but I’d like to argue it’s more productive to see a complaint as an opportunity to build a relationship. Here is a general, effective way to respond to public complaints on social media. Good luck!
Public complaints – Comments, photo tags, stories
When you receive a public complaint, you can either respond directly in the feed, or move the conversation to a private message. It can often work well to comment back as well as send a private message at the same time to fully address someone’s concern.
You receive a comment on your restaurant’s Facebook that the soup is always cold, and the customer who posted states they are fed up and won’t be returning.
Start with a public response: Leave a public comment to immediately address the concern and de-escalate the issue. Be kind, positive and concise. By commenting in public, you’re letting the customer know their concern is heard, even if they do not see your private message. You’re also letting other customers know you take concerns seriously.
If there is an issue with your product or service, fix it. If you think this is more of a misunderstanding or a coincidence, still acknowledge the concern and move the conversation into a private message.
Next, send a private message to the customer. Thank them for sharing their concern (they could have told ten people not to go to your restaurant and you never would have known there was an issue.) Then, see if the relationship is mendable. If the complaint was valid, and you’d like to save the customer relationship, one option is inviting them to return to the restaurant and offer a free soup on the house. Or invite them to return and offer them free dinner. Let them know what you’re doing to fix the temperature. – the remedy depends on your company’s policy. If they don’t respond, at least you’ve addressed their issue in the comments.
What if that doesn’t fix the situation?
If you cannot rectify the situation, it’s a waste of energy to get angry. Trust me, I’ve felt all the feels as a business owner. What I’ve learned from years of experience in restaurants and business is to interact with the customer online exactly as you would if they were standing in your restaurant.
What if you think they’re just trying to get free stuff?
Perhaps you’re concerned the complaint is an attempt to get something free. In that case, thank them (in a comment or private message) for sharing their concern and let them know you hope to have an opportunity to create a great experience for them in the future.
DON’T: Do not offer free things on comments. Can you guess why? Drop a comment below!
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