A recent query from a colleague alerted me to just how overly sensitive we still are to seeing complaint appear in our social media streams. Granted, it does sort of get your gut twisted and your blood draining when you open your stream and there it is for the whole world to see. My colleague’s reaction was to want to hit the “Remove this Post” button but is that the right way to go about it?
John Beale shared his experiences when dealing with online complaints in the post entitled Ten types of social media complaints on BizCommunity. He lists ten types of complaints and how to deal with them. Valuable insight and a concise summary of complaint-type consumer engagements we can expect in our various streams.
What I would like to highlight as a conclusion from this particular post is the following: In not ONE of the types of complaints does he (or I, as a matter of fact!) ever suggest that you put your head in the sand in pretend it did not happen!
Typically every type of post (and platform) has a unique approach to take, but in general terms what I suggested to my colleague (and clients in the past) is this:
- Acknowledge the post or comment
- Indicate how you will be addressing the concern (i.e. “We will investigate and report back within 24hrs etc.)
- Indicate specific time-frames where possible and stick to them
- DO NOT engage in an emotive response where you simply defend your position (SMME’s are typically prone to this type of reaction)
- Use this opportunity to assist the consumer to resolve their complaint OR to change your processes to prevent this from happening again (learning opportunity in other words)
I know, it’s like showing up at school and realising you didn’t prepare for the test. Fact remains, you’ve gotta do it. Avoiding confrontation leaves a bad taste in the consumer’s mouth and creates the impression that your brand / business and ultimately you (SMME’s!) don’t care. It just isn’t worth it.