Complaints, questions or compliments posted on your business’s social media pages offer a chance to make a positive impact on what current and prospective customers think of your business. The swift resolution of a complaint, for example, can build credibility and goodwill amongst your followers.
Below are five tips to help you seize this opportunity:
Assign one person to manage feedback. Ideally, they will have customer service experience.
Prepare a plan. This could be a simple decision tree that covers, for instance:
- The type of comment (e.g. complaint, compliment, inappropriate)
- How to respond to each type (e.g. “Thanks so much for your kind comment.”)
- How quickly to respond (e.g. within 30 minutes for a complaint)
- Whether further management or escalation is required (e.g. if it’s a question that can’t be answered readily)
- How to proceed (e.g. notify X of a complaint regarding Y and find a solution together).
To help develop this plan, think about how your business handles customer complaints on email or the phone.
Remember, however, that social media is a public forum, so extra-special care is required when responding.
2. Monitor constantly
To be able to respond quickly, you need to monitor your social media pages constantly. This doesn’t mean having someone watch them 24/7 though. Your social media person should check them as often as possible, and set up alerts so that they are notified immediately when someone posts a comment.
Social media platforms offer this alert function, but only for activity on that platform. Tools such as Hootsuite enable monitoring across different platforms.
3. Review carefully
Each comment should be read thoroughly. Some may be inappropriate (e.g. abusive or racist, or a product promotion) and deserve deletion. You can clarify what types of comments will get deleted in the ‘profile’ or ‘about’ sections of your page.
Don’t delete negative comments out of hand though. A business page with absolutely no complaints can raise suspicions. A page where customer complaints have clearly been resolved can build trust.
4. Respond quickly
Generally, the faster a business responds to comments the better. So if someone puts up a compliment, sincerely thank them for it as soon as you can.
Similarly, if they make a genuine complaint, respond quickly with thanks, an apology and a promise to make things right.
Be open, polite and professional, not cold or defensive. Remember that their complaint is a sign they value your product or service.
It’s important then to move the conversation onto a private channel – e.g. Facebook Messenger, email or phone – so that you can get to grips with the problem without discussing every detail in public. Then do all you can to solve the problem.
Once the issue is resolved, go back to the original comment and ask the person publicly if they are satisfied. This shows your customer and others that you made good on your promise, and that you value them.
5. Learn and improve
Feedback on social media can be valuable information about your business. It’s also a chance to test and enhance the way you handle complaints and queries. Whether it’s positive or negative, use this feedback to improve both your customer service and your business as a whole.
For more advice on social media marketing for small businesses, check out my other blog.
(This article was first published on business.govt.nz, a resource site aimed at making complying with government rules and regulations quicker and easier for small business owners.)