Addressing Customer Complaints through Social Media

Addressing Customer Complaints through Social Media

Despite best intentions, mistakes do happen and in our ultra-connected world sometimes even the smallest mistakes seem too large to overcome. When you consider that the average Facebook user has 338 friends, you quickly realize how just one post sharing a negative consumer review, can have a significant effect on a business’ reputation. If your company has recently received some negative feedback through social media there is no need to panic, with some quick and meaningful action and a little common sense, there is no reason why you can’t turn things around.

Here are a few tips on how to deal with negative customer feedback on social media.

1. Acknowledge the problem.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when dealing with customer complaints on social media is to ignore the issue or even worse, delete the post. Chances are the customer who has been wronged will only get “louder” through repeated posting and increasingly negative comments, which will inevitable draw even more attention to the problem. The best plan of action is to acknowledge that you’ve heard the customer’s complaint and ask them for more information. Openly offer an apology for the mistake and thank them for their feedback. When a customer’s complaint is acknowledged, that customer feels valued and is more likely to work with your team to find a resolution and remain loyal to your company. Through their Twitter tech support @VerizonSupport, Verizon uses Twitter to confront customer issues head on, providing quick, real-time solutions to their tech problems.

2. Offer a meaningful solution.
Every customer experience is unique and that’s why it’s important to ask questions and find out what a satisfactory resolution looks like to each individual. It may be a discount on a future product/service, it could be a complimentary replacement or even proof that the issue has been addressed. Offering a wronged customer nothing, can be just as ineffective as offering them the moon, when all they want is an apology and reassurance that the problem has been fixed. When WestJet posted an announcement on Facebook regarding a new fee for checked baggage, the response was anything but positive. Instead of hiding from the issue, WestJet took the time to respond to individual customer feedback and offer further information. In the end, many customers were informed that they were eligible for a WestJet promotion that allowed them to bypass the new fee.

3. Make lemons out of lemonade.
So your company received a bad review through social media, every business with an online presence does at some time or another but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world, why not take it as an opportunity to show how you’ve learned from your mistakes. Use social media to show that you hear your customer’s feedback, value their business and have taken steps to improve their experience. In 2014 Telus launched “Angry Tweets,” a lighthearted YouTube campaign to show that they’re listening to customer feedback and using it to improve the way they do business. To date the series has received over 500,000 views.

For more information on how Thornley Fallis can help your business develop a social media strategy to boost customer service, please visit

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