A calm demeanor, quick fingers, taking a moment to inhale, exhale, and the respond politely. These are the hallmarks of an effective process for handling those unavoidable “unhappy campers” that pop up in your social media world from time to time.
Generally speaking, the grumps can be clumped into two categories:
- A person who honestly sought a satisfying experience with your product, however a poor experience left this person in need of venting and in search of a solution from your end to make things right.
- Someone who employs social media as a tool to drive business AWAY from you, and couldn’t care less about the response you provide. In fact, he or she probably hopes you reply simply for the fact that they will try and escalate the discussion into an ugly public fight that leaves you smeared with mud and stinging.
The best way to approach either of these two types of complainers is to bring a balanced, polite approach.
- Do not dally: Timely response, as immediate as possible, lets your customers know they are a priority and you are paying attention. And more importantly, it lets OTHER customers who observe the social media interactions know these are your values.
- Keep your tone and messaging in response polite and friendly, and be personal. Do not match the complainer’s anger or respond with snark or sarcasm. Remember: Others are watching.
- Find the solution and work toward it, and if necessary, talk offline. A good rule of thumb is to respond once via public post, and then take the conversation offline if more discussion is needed. You don’t want a long stretch of back-and-forth taking up too much real estate in your social media stream: Just enough to demonstrate to others that you responded promptly, sufficiently, and addressed the problem appropriately with style and grace and friendliness!