5 Tips to Help Prevent Your Company from Being Bashed on Twitter and Other Social Media

Customer Service

Customer ServiceJust a few years ago, unhappy customers had two formal options: write a complaint letter/email, or ask to speak to a manager. Of course, this was in addition to personally telling all their friends about their experience.

With social media, unhappy customers can now broadcast their complaints, not only to their friends, but to anyone who’s listening.

In one way this is great for customer service advocates—the people now have a platform to expose bad companies. On the other hand, there are people who abuse these channels to tarnish good companies, hoping to be reimbursed with gift cards, upgrades and free goods.

If you’re one of these good companies, eGain CEO and customer service expert Ashu Roy shares five things you can do to protect your business from being taken advantage of in social media.

Identify the customer. Try to familiarize yourself with who the complaining customer is. This will help you address his/her specific concerns and not just state generalities.

Acknowledge the dissatisfaction in the venue it was originally voiced. If the customer complains via Twitter, acknowledge the complaint in Twitter.

Move the conversation out of the public space. Suggest to the customer moving the conversation to a phone or email conversation. It is virtually impossible to solve problems in 140 characters (if Twitter), and there is no need for the problem solving to be done publicly.

Train your customer service team to handle social media complaints. Have best practices in place. Companies traditionally have a standard way of handling complaints that come in over the phone or via email, yet many companies have neglected to have such a process in place for social complaints.

Make sure a customer complaining in a social space is receiving the same quality and consistency of service as one complaining through different channels. This will discourage customers from shopping around your customer service channels for a better offer.

(Shopping around: Calling over the phone to complain and be offered compensation. Then emailing the complaint to see if the email compensation is better. Finally, posting on Twitter to see if the final offer is better than the first two.)

Be proactive when it comes to social media. Don’t simply use a corporate feed to respond to complaints. If you do this, your entire presence will be negative. Be positively engaging with customers as well.

Essentially, handling social media complainers should be no more difficult or time consuming than handling complaints that come in from traditional channels.

(Photo credit: FailPost)

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Joseph Mutidjo

Joseph is a writer at Smallbiztechnology. His first taste of home computing was the Tandy 1000. He continues to be fascinated with how technology makes life easier and more efficient.

4 thoughts on “5 Tips to Help Prevent Your Company from Being Bashed on Twitter and Other Social Media

  1. Haipin

    Hi Joseph, good tips. Any tips on how to get a reversal (assuming issues were resolved) from customers who bashed your company from Twitter and or other social media sites? Thanks.

  2. eBusiness Appraisals

    Responding to the negative comments or reviews is an important action for businesses to show they care and listen to what consumers have to say. Moving from the website where the complaint appears to a more private communication with the person is a very good point so as to contain any further damage a complainant might post in the course of a relatively lengthy public exchange. Businesses should learn to engage with their customers more, and not only when they read something negative is posted about them, but also to show appreciation and gratitude for supporting their business. – Kate. Know the value of your business with a complimentary business valuation assessment – http://www.ebusinessappraisals.com/value-insight/

    • Stephen George

      Nice thoughts, eBusiness Appraisals!! But after digging some information about you i’ve found a few interesting things. How did you respond to that?? Here’s some information around it. “The March Group, the Florida based M&A firm has re-branded itself to
      eBusiness Appraisals. Beware of this firm as they promise to sell your
      business for a very high value provided you pay a substantial up-front
      fee. This company prey on the hopes, dreams and desperation (at times)
      of business owners and ask for huge up-front payment–before they have
      produced anything! They often tout having a pipeline of overseas or
      foreign buyers–ones you conveniently cannot verify.”  Stop looking for links to your sites/profiles by posting comments, instead you can focus on ethical ways of doing business.

      All this apart, the author deserves an appreciation for the thoughts and information provided. Thanks a ton!

      • Ramon Ray

        Stephen, thanks for taking the time to write. I’m not sure if you’re right or not, but I do thank you for being a part of the conversation. Maybe Kate will reply as well on your particular post.


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