Customer Experience News & Trends

3 great ways to handle customer complaints on Twitter

Few things travel faster than bad news — especially when Twitter is the mouthpiece. So when customers take their gripes to the limited-word social media site, you want to get in there fast.

A quick and effective response to negative tweets about your organization can gain you fast praise. Customers who complain on social media are just about as likely to sing your praises after a solid recovery as they were to air their grievances on the public venue.

Here are three keys to resolving issues that come up on Twitter so customers are happy, your business retains its good reputation and all those who see it unfold in social media recognize that your service pros and organization are top notch:

1. Take it to the appropriate place

When customers complain publicly, they may want an audience, but their main intent is to get a solution to the problem they face.  Sometimes those issues can be resolved right where they started … on Twitter, especially if they’re responded to almost immediately (which is the expected response time for Twitter).

When the issue is cut and dry, for example, and there isn’t a deep sense of customer anger, customer service reps who handle Twitter should be trained and permitted to extend courtesies and reimbursement for issues.

But for emotionally charged or complex issues, on the other hand, it’s almost always better to take the situation off Twitter. Reps will want to acknowledge comments and invite enraged customers to contact them personally via email or telephone. Then they can handle it one-on-one. From there, reps might want to ask customers to follow up angry tweets with ones that explain that things turned around (assuming they do, of course).

For instance, when actor Seth Rogan recently tweeted advice that people avoid Cathay Pacific Airlines (@CathayPacific), the company responded with regrets that he and his wife had been disappointed. Then they asked him for details via private direct messages. About 11 hours later, Rogan tweeted again, saying that he was pleased with Cathay and how things were handled.

2. Know where to be

Twitter offers opportunities for companies to promote, respond and help. But in many cases, those three things shouldn’t be managed under the same Twitter handle.

While you want a unified look and feel for your company across social media, having one Twitter handle strictly for customer service is of key importance.

As an example: Nike has many Twitter handles to appeal to customers’ diverse athletic interests. But one, @NikeSupport, is devoted to helping customers with issues.

3. Make it personal

For having “social” in its name, social media offers a lot anonymity. And it’s tough to build relationships and make customers happy behind a totally anonymous image.

It’s not only a good idea to share some personality with customers on Twitter, it’s a reasonable way to build relationships and loyalty. When customers recognize they’re dealing with compassionate employees, they usually feel more assured that they’re being heard.

That’s why many organizations like TD Canada (@TD_Canada) includes photos and initials of their service reps who handle Twitter on the background of its Twitter page. Even better, it’s a fun tile of them laughing, clearly enjoying their work.

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