How to Handle Customers Who Get Mean on Social Media
Customers have always had the upper hand in business. They are “always right” and “king.” Social media has put even more power into their hands because when they get mean, everybody knows about it. Well, everybody in the social circle, anyway. Some are reasonable, wanting only to vent their frustrations and hoping to get a resolution to their problems. Others are simply mean, taking the opportunity to take pot shots at you and hoping you will respond in kind. It may be tempting, but it will only hurt you and your business in the end. Here are five ways how to handle customers who get mean on social media.
Be ready for it
Forewarned is forearmed. You should be ready to handle mean customers on social media. Brush up on the next items in this list and you should be able to keep your blood pressure and temper down when it happens.
Rants are like bushfires; you have to be ready to nip it in the bud before it can spread too far, or you will not be able to control it. Monitor the more popular networks for mentions of you, your product, or your brand, and wade in ready for bear when you find them.
When you find a post about you, respond at once. This works very well when the post is negative but reasonable. When you respond quickly to a genuine call for help, your customer will feel gratified, no matter if there is no actual solution to the problem. When the post is merely mean, it will stop it from snowballing if your reply appears immediately after or as close to it as possible. If appropriate, send a private message to the customer to make special arrangements to help resolve any issues.
Never respond angrily to a post, no matter how unjust it is. It makes you look defensive, and anyone who views it will likely believe the mean poster hit it right on the button. Reply calmly and reasonably, acknowledging what the poster said right, and maybe even apologizing for any inconvenience. Ignore any unbecoming language used, and definitely refrain from making fun of the poster by pointing out misspellings or grammatical errors. Finally, suggest possible solutions to the issue, and sign off with your first name.
If you are successful in resolving your customer’s issue, make sure to publish it by thanking the customer for helping you resolve it. It does not matter if the customer was actually uncooperative and stayed belligerent to the end. The important thing is other people who follow the posts will be impressed by the professional and courteous way you handled the customer.
Social media has become so widespread that it can literally make or break your business. How you handle a mean customer will determine which one will happen for you. You can make sure that you survive the experience by being ready for it, and always remembering that the customer is always right, off- or online.