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Many companies are turning to Twitter to increase their online presence. This is a bit of a double-edged sword, as companies can easily reach a large amount of existing and potential clients at the same time. The downside is, if there is a negative tweet about your business, all subscribers can see the complaint. Does your company have a plan to address negative tweets?
Traditionally, the general rule regarding complaints was that a disgruntled customer or client will tell up to 20 people when they are unhappy, versus 5 when they are happy. When a complaint is made on Twitter, chances are very high it will be seen by more than 20 people. Complaints on Twitter should be taken seriously, even one complaint could damage your online reputation. Here are a few tips on dealing with this new breed of online customer service.
Ensure Team Alignment
If you have more than one person looking over your social media accounts, or someone other than you looking over it, you need to be sure that they are experts on your products and services. This is important because it is them who will be responding to questions and complaints. If you don’t have an FAQ section set up, it is a good idea to establish answers to the most commonly asked questions, as well as answers or responses to any frequent complaints. This will provide you and your employees with a way to quickly handle displeased customers.
Prompt Response is Key
Oftentimes, a quick response will go a long way in dampening the complaint. As people, we like to be acknowledged and when it is done promptly, we are more likely to be open. Many complaints are made when people are mad, and as such, the complaints tend not to show the whole picture. If you quickly respond, ask for more information or suggestions on what you can do to help, the complainer will often give you valuable feedback to use. If the complaint is serious, it is a good idea to acknowledge the complaint briefly, and then pursue a private dialogue. The average window to respond is 2-3 hours from the time of the complaint, so try to at least acknowledge the complaint within that time.
Personal Responses go a Long Way
As with any response to complaints, it is a good idea to personally respond. If you use a company account, the response or apology will be read as insincere, and potentially make the problem worse. Many people feel valued when they are contacted from the owner’s or manager’s personal company account. In small businesses like yours, it is a good idea that someone at the very top replies. This will make it look like you care.
Word Limits, We Don’t Need No Word Limits
The 140 character limit is usually not enough to explain yourself, or conduct damage control. So, don’t limit yourself to just the 140 characters. Use the space to acknowledge the complaint, and ask the person who lodged the complaint for their email so you can help them.
Pick Your Battles
Remember one of the most important sayings in business: “You can’t please everyone, all the time.” There will always be people who complain simply because they can. In an ideal world, you would be able to personally address and solve each and every complaint, but chances are high you won’t be able to do that. Use your business sense about the complaints, or have a colleague look at the complaint and debate about what you should do.
With careful responses that are prompt and personal, there is a high chance you will turn the complaint into praise, and not only keep your client, but look good while doing it. If you have any questions about Twitter or any other social media tools, please give us a call.
Published on 28th March 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.