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Customer service reply to complaint
January 13, 2019 1st Anniversary Wishes 2 comments

If you receive a customer service complaint letter or foreign object in food complaint letter, it's important to send your response to the customer right away so he.

Keeping customers happy is critical to the success of any business. Prompt response to complaints can help you retain customers who are dissatisfied with the service they received from your company. A well-written response letter follows a basic format and is an important tool in your company's complaint resolution process.

Summarize the Situation

Begin the letter by thanking the customer for telling you about the problem. It’s important to start the letter on a positive note, since you know that the customer is already unhappy with your company. Mention that you value his business and strive to ensure that customers have a good experience with your company. Briefly summarize the complaint, including any dates, if applicable. Ask the customer to contact you if your summary doesn’t accurately describe his issue. Include any questions you might have about the customer’s experience.

Use Empathy

Let the customer know that you understand why he was upset or unhappy. If your company was wrong, apologize for the error or situation. Even if your company was right, it’s best not to antagonize the customer by blaming the situation on him. The Intuit website suggests that you tell the customer that you understand that you didn’t fulfill his expectations if you feel that the complaint was unwarranted. The point of this paragraph is to establish rapport with the client and make him feel that his opinion matters.

Offer a Solution

Let the customer know what you can do to resolve the situation. Explain in detail what you will do and when you will do it. In some cases, you might need additional information from him, such as documents or completed forms, before you can address the problem. Tell the customer exactly what information you need and when you need it. Avoid applying company policies too rigidly. You won’t be wrong if you refuse to fix an issue that occurred one day after a warranty expired, but you probably will lose a customer – and that customer will tell others of his experience with your company.

Conclude the Letter

Finish the letter with your contact information should the customer want to discuss the matter further. Provide multiple ways in which the customer can reach you, such as an email address and your direct telephone line. Avoid providing a general company telephone number or one that requires the customer to wade through numerous prompts just to leave a message. If you make it difficult for the customer to reach you, he might become frustrated and feel that you are not serious about resolving his problem. Thank the customer again for contacting you and ask him to let you know if he has any additional problems.

If you receive a customer service complaint letter or foreign object in food complaint letter, it's important to send your response to the customer right away so he.

Why Customer Complaints Are Good For Your Business

customer service reply to complaint

Post summary:

  • If a customer is unhappy, he or she will voice their complaint. In this article, we share how you can  track, monitor and categorize customer complaints.
  • How do you respond to a complaint that you have received? Here, we share 5 ways to handle the complaint, and provide suggestions on ways to stop the complaint from going viral. 
  • Most customer complaint handling is reactive and reacting to customers after they have encountered an issue. Learn how to go above and beyond with a proactive complaint handling strategy.

In today’s Internet-driven world, customers have more power than ever.

If customers have a positive customer experience, they will share this experience with friends, family and connections, which in turn can lead to new business. All at zero cost.

But what happens if you fail to provide a positive customer experience?

The answer is simple. Your customers will complain.

According to research by Esteban Kolsky, 13% of unhappy customers will share their complaint with 15 or more people.

Furthermore, only 1 in 25 unhappy customers complain directly to you.

And for customers that don’t complain, they just stop doing business with you.

There is a silver lining here:

A customer complaint highlights a problem, whether that’s a problem with your product, employees or internal processes, and by hearing these problems directly from your customers, you can investigate and improve to prevent further complaints in the future.

Furthermore, research finds that customers’ whose complaints are handled quickly can often turn into loyal customers and even brand advocates.

In fact, a study by Harvard Business Review found that customers who have a complaint handled in less than 5 minutes go on to spend more on future purchases.

Simply put, a customer complaint can become very profitable when you can resolve their problem quickly.

How to analyze customer complaints

Complaint analysis is used to track, categorize and handle customer complaints.

When a customer makes a complaint, he or she is voicing a concern in relation to your product or service. However, not all complaints are to be treated equally and there are several questions to ask yourself before you take action, including:

  • Has this happened before?
  • Have the complaints been recorded?
  • How often does the same compliant arise?
  • Is there a pattern to this complaint in how it was received?
  • Has the same customer reported this previously?

By answering these questions, you can take the necessary steps required to prevent them from happening again.

For example, if several customers complain about a specific issue, you can use their feedback to improve your product or service. Or, if you are currently working on a solution, yet you still receive complaints from your customer base, you can create an email template for support that explains, in detail, how are you going to solve it.

5 ways to handle customer complaints

The next time you receive a customer complaint, follow these tips to help transform it into a golden opportunity for your business.

1. Listen and understand

Always listen to your customers. They have complained for a reason and it is important to understand why they are complaining. Research has shown that customers care more about quality than a fast response – Take time to listen and understand what their problem is. To maintain quality from all support personnel, use a customer service knowledge base

2. Apologize

Don’t be afraid to apologize for a mistake. Many customers are simply looking for an apology and acknowledgement of their complaint, yet so many businesses are hesitant to admit when a mistake has been made.

Don’t underestimate the importance of an apology:

Research by The Nottingham School of Economics found that unhappy customers are more willing to forgive a company that offers an apology as opposed to being compensated.

In the findings from the study, 45% of customers withdrew their negative evaluation of a company in light of an apology, whereas only 23% of customers withdrew their negative evaluation in return for compensation.

The researchers concluded that when a customer hears the words “I’m sorry”, it triggers an immediate instinct to forgive.

But, don’t just stop at the apology; follow through with a promise to resolve the complaint.

3. Find a solution

When your customer has a legitimate complaint, it needs to be solved.

Give your customer service team the authority to handle the majority of customer complaints to avoid passing your customer onto a series of people and managers. If the issue has been or can be repeated, make the necessary changes so you do not receive another complaint.

Here’s a customer complaint example:

Let’s say you have a customer who’s account is up for renewal. You reach out them manually, before taking payment (as required by GDPR) and they are happy to continue with their subscription.

But, for some reason or another, you charge them twice for the same amount – and they are not happy and decide to cancel their account. Giving your employees the authority to handle these kinds of issues means allowing them to issue a refund and handle the request without having to escalate the case to a supervisor. It also means that the customer gets their issue solved quickly.

Once  you have issued the refund, you can send them the following customer complaint refund email template.

4. Follow up with the customer

Follow up with your customers to make sure they are satisfied with the solution. This can be in the form of a follow up email or survey asking for feedback on how the complaint was handled.

Almost 70% of customers leave a company because they believe you don’t care about them.

Very few companies follow up with their customers.

Following up shows you care. And this makes the customer feel important.

Not sure how to follow up?

Use the template below.

5. Exceed Expectations

You have acknowledged the mistake, fixed the problem and followed up.

Now, it’s your chance to go one step further and exceed customer expectations, whether this is to send a hand-written thank you note or to give the customer early access to your new product features. In doing so, the next time your customer talks about your business, this will be the message they communicate most!

Customer complaint check list

Solving customer complaints is a lot like putting out fires. It’s reactive, and no matter how good your product or service is, it’s impossible to please all of your customers.

The next time you receive a complaint, use the following 5 step check list in order to respond, resolve and keep your customer happy.

  1. Acknowledge the complaint
  2. Inform the customer that you are taking action
  3. Record and categorize the customer complaint
  4. Resolve the complaint according to company policy
  5. Follow up with the customer to make sure they are satisfied

Handling customer complaints is an ongoing process. You can use web forms to collect complaints from your website and then use customer service software to store the complaint on each customer profile. Remember to monitor complaints on a weekly or monthly basis so you can track new complaints and trends, and be sure to follow up on open complaints.

It’s worth reminding, but if a customer leaves you, you lose business. So, don’t be afraid to escalate reoccurring complaints to top management in order to get them resolved quickly.

Proactive complaint handling

As mentioned earlier, not all customers will complain directly to you.

The web enables customers to share their feedback in multiple channels, including forums, comparison websites, social media networks and more. Without taking the necessary steps, these complaints can snowball, and even go viral.

This means you need to engage in social listening and get get proactive in customer complaint handling.

Finding complaints online is not easy, but here are a few suggestions on where to start:

  • Have any negative comments been made on your blog?
  • Has your brand name been mentioned on Twitter?
  • Do customers post messages on your Facebook brand page?
  • Has anyone left a bad review on your Google My Business page?
  • Are the comments made on your YouTube channels positive?
  • Is your brand listed in any complaint directories or forums when you search in Google?

All these channels will need to be monitored. If you don’t respond, readers will assume you don’t care.  If you respond to messages online, it can be seen as though you are making an effort and that you do care. This act alone can inspire brand loyalty and customer confidence.

Conclusion

Customer complaints are important.

And there’s no better way to collect direct feedback from your customers and improve your product or service.

However, the way you handle a complaint is the difference between keeping a customer or losing one. So, the next time you receive a customer complaint, listen to what the customer has to say, apologize (!), find a solution and follow up to see if he or she is happy with the way you are handling it.

In doing so, you are on your way to creating more loyal customers, improving your product and delivering a better quality of customer service.

How do you manage customer complaints?

Looking forward to hearing from you below.

P.S. If you’re looking for further tips on how to improve complaints, download the free customer service email templates white paper below.

Customer Service

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Customer Service Speaker Explains How to Handle Complaints
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customer service reply to complaint

Harsh words are not always indicative of insight. Customer complaints are not always a sign that something is wrong.

Be that as it may, great feedback can be buried within the vitriol. You need to give credence to every message that customers send. Oftentimes, a negative experience can be salvaged and turned into an opportunity. Being able to assess and address customer complaints is key to making this happen.

Why customer complaints matter

Data suggests that nine out of ten times, a customer will continue doing business with you even after a slip-up—but only if you wholly fix the situation the first time.

Support isn’t about always being right, it’s about always being willing to make it right. Here are a few principles for doing just that.

Are you looking to start or grow a career in customer support? Read our free career guide

1. Look past the fury for friction

It’s a fallacy to assume that just because someone is behaving wildly, his or her argument has no merit. Complaints, even angry ones, can contain insight — it’s your job to seek out the friction.

Evernote CEO Phil Libin offers up one of my favorite truisms on listening to feedback: “Feedback is great for telling you what you did wrong. It's terrible at telling you what you should do next.”

Socratic questioning, whether to the customer or to yourself, can help get to the source of the issue. Okay, the customer’s angry — is this because we weren’t clear with our copy? Is our user experience setting the customer up for failure? Did we drop the ball with our communication?

It is tempting to dismiss complainers as cranky or overly sensitive, but do that too often and you’ll ending up dismissing genuine feedback.

2. Record and organize meaningful complaints

Free customers always ask for more free stuff. Feature requests often turn into product demands. While helping customers is always right, haphazardly following their demands is always wrong.

Multiple messages from multiple customers with recurring concerns is the beginning of a narrative. The volume of a certain complaint only raises the red flag, though; you’ll have to carefully decide what to do next.

You’ll need a simple way to organize this sort of feedback, and here’s an overview of some options.

The key is to make it easy, and make it browse-able. “Hard to do” leads to never being done. Give your team a meaningful way to make note of meaningful complaints, and you can rest easy, because you will hear about them.

3. Identify who you are talking to

This study on customer complaints presents a strong case for evaluating messages through a selection of common archetypes. Here are a few notable personas that will make their way into your inbox:

The Meek Customer. Generally averse to talking to you. He doesn’t want to be a burden, or he doesn’t think you’ll care—either way, it’s your responsibility to inquire deeper to get to the heart of exactly what is wrong.

The Aggressive Customer. Outspoken and not shy about letting you know what’s on her mind. Avoid mirroring this confrontational behavior, and instead react with firm politeness that is pleasant but not submissive—your team needs to be treated with respect, too.

The High Roller. Perhaps your “enterprise” customer, who likely pays well and demands premium support for it. While no customer is fond of excuses, this customer disdains hearing them. Setting up a VIP Folder with Workflows is a simple way to cater to the high roller’s needs.

The Chronic Complainer. This customer will contact you a lot, but that doesn’t mean that his issues should be dismissed. Patience is required here, but once satisfied, this customer will have no qualms about singing your praises to others.

The Barnacle. Although the research identifies this as the “rip-off” customer, I find the barnacle label to be more accurate. This person is never happy. She is not looking for a satisfactory response; she is trying to get something she doesn’t deserve. Nothing is good enough unless she’s getting a handout. Maintain composure and respond as objectively as possible.

These are generally the ends of the spectrum. Most people are reasonable, and most conversations are uneventful. Should you come across one of the above, however, put those tried-and-true support skills to work.

4. Don’t be passive-aggressive

“We’re sorry that you are having this problem” is an infuriating phrase for a customer to hear. It is nothing more than the deferment of blame.

Far too many use this sort of language by accident. The attempt to apologize comes off as dismissive, all thanks to a misuse of tone.

Just say you’re sorry. Even when the customer is being unreasonable, apologize outright and ask how you might help resolve the issue. If you come across a lost cause, keep it friendly, keep it professional, and keep it moving.

5. Transfer quickly, but explain why

“Please hold while I transfer you. Your call is very important to us.”

Terrible. While this problem isn’t nearly as bad over email, introductions or handing someone off should be handled with care. Never miss an opportunity to briefly explain to a customer why this movement will be to their benefit. It’s nearly impossible to get anyone excited about being transferred, but consider the two choices you have:

  1. I’ll have to transfer you for that. *click*
  2. I’m going to set you up with our specialist who will get that squared away for you right away. “That’ll work!”

Without this brief but relevant insertion, customers won’t know that you are actually doing the best thing, and second only to doing the best thing is letting people know you are.

6. Use supportive questioning

There is a fine line between following up and inadvertently swaying a customer to dwell upon his bad mood.

Let’s look at these two responses:

  • “Is there anything else wrong?”
  • “How else can I help you today?”

Asking a customer a leading, negative question such as #1 is asking for a negative outcome. Conversely, inquiring how you may be able to further assist shows that you are ready and willing to address anything else the customer needs.

7. Time is of the essence

Inbox zero often causes us to envisage an assembly line environment of productivity. The truth is that catching up to the queue grants you time for the most meaningful conversations. A quick reply will never go out of style.

In the case of an unhappy customer, a speedy response goes from nice to necessary—complaints are a different beast that benefit from being resolved as soon as possible.

A customer leaving a feature request won’t sweat the fact that it took you a day to respond. Customers who are in a “pulling my hair out” situation want a resolution yesterday. Make responding to them a priority.

It can be useful to set up a Folder separate from the main support queue where you can filter less-than-ecstatic messages. Here, the team can see immediately which emails are from customers who need help right away.

Get the answer right the first time, but know that if there is ever a situation where speed takes a priority, it’s in turning the metaphorical frown upside-down.

8. Verify the resolution

Have you ever submitted something through an online form, and after you hit submit there wasn’t a single confirmation on whether or not anything had happened?

It’s incredibly frustrating. You don’t have a clue where your issue—and any hope of resolving it—stands.

The same principle applies when communicating with customers. You want to be absolutely sure that the customer is clear on the resolution that occurred and that it met his or her needs. If you’re not ending your responses with an inviting question, you may be creating unnecessary trouble.

"Let me know if there's anything else I can do for you—I'm happy to help!"

That’s a good place to start. Even a simple, "Are you all set?" will do.

9. Treat customers with genuine respect

Customers want to be treated with respect. The day you stop talking to them like regular people is the day you lose touch and relevance. After that, you start losing customers.

So don’t talk to them like a corporate stiff—this is a conversation, not “correspondence.” However, also avoid the flipside, which is pandering through pleasantry. It’s disingenuous to act like you can force your good mood down an unhappy customer’s throat. Worse yet, it’s downright creepy.

Please — spare me your insincerity.

Providing great support means finding a demeanor comfortable to the people you are serving, no matter the situation. Justin, our support lead, describes it as such:

  • We do not offer up platitudes. We are not obnoxiously bubbly, cheery, or “zestful.”
  • We don’t wage a campaign of aggressive happiness. We do not offer foot massages or roll out the red carpet for people who treat our team members poorly (it’s a two-way street).
  • Help Scout is fond of the Ritz-Carlton principle, to be “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” We hold doors, offer a strong handshake, and will pass on the last piece of pie—unless it’s pumpkin.

We care about the customer experience, top to bottom, but that doesn't mean we behave like a caricature. It means being consistently helpful and unquestionably genuine.

10. Don’t drag out a lost cause

If a customer wants to cancel his account, do it right away. Nothing makes for a bitter departure quite like running your customers through the gauntlet as they try to leave.

Winning customers back with exceptional service is fundamental, but when people already have one foot out the door, you’re better off letting the parting be as frictionless as possible. Learn what you can, see if there is a way to resolve the issue, and accept the outcome if there isn’t.

Customers aren’t necessarily gone for good just because they cancel their accounts once. Hassling upon exit, however, will assure they never return.

11. CARP Diem to resolve complaints

A really useful method for consistently handling upset customers can be found in Robert Bacal’s book, If It Wasn’t for the Customers I’d Really Like this Job. Bacal’s practices are known as the CARP method, which consists of:

  • Control
  • Acknowledge
  • Refocus
  • Problem solve

In other words, take control of the situation with language that shows you are ready to handle concerns and don’t intend to play games. Acknowledge that you completely understand your customer’s concerns and won’t be brushing them off.

Next, refocus away from the customer’s emotions to the solution at hand, outlining how you’ll take care of it. Finally, solve the problem, confirming that everything has been resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.

Take your customer complaints seriously

You deserve no more respect than you are willing to give others…except in customer support, you’re the professional. You do have to learn to be the rock for your team. In turn, your team needs to look out for you.

Sometimes support needs support, and sometimes you just need to remember that not every customer can be made happy. Stay positive; the next pleasant conversation is just around the corner.

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Gregory Ciotti

Greg is a writer, marketing strategist and alum of Help Scout. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Response: “I apologize for that. Let me personally take care of this for you.” Customers just want straight answers and to feel like their complaints are being dealt.

How to Respond to Restaurant Complaint Letters

customer service reply to complaint

Have you ever complained to a brand publicly via social media?

I’ll admit it, I have done this.

Fortunately, my comments received a response and a resolution to the problem. But this is not always the case with every business—and it should be.

Following essential social media customer service best practices is vital to supporting your consumer base and retaining them long term.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • how to leverage social media as a customer support channel,
  • examples of social media customer service from brands,
  • what to do with negative comments and complaints,
  • tools to monitor customer service on social media,
  • …and more.

Let’s dive in!

Social Media and Customer Service

A two-way conversation, or social connection, has long been the intended purpose for social media.

We’re now seeing social media platforms used to grow business by:

  • Boosting brand awareness
  • Marketing products or services
  • “Listening” to consumers

Social media and customer service may not have been an intentional combination for these channels when developed.

However, many people having an issue or question look for a quick solution by using social media for customer service inquiries on a frequent basis.

In fact, 67% of consumers have engaged a brand’s social media for customer service needs.

That’s a lot of people, and a lot of exposure for a brand!

Ultimately, creating a brand with an inclusive and helpful community via social media is the goal of any business.

BONUS CHECKLIST
Use this checklist to create the right social media goals for business growth (includes examples). Outline your strategy for branding, conversions…and more!DOWNLOAD NOW

In order to be effective, using social media for customer service must now become a part of your overall social media strategy.

SEE ALSO:7 Effective Social Media Best Practices for Business

Are you using social media for customer service in the right way for your business?

Take a look at six key elements you’ll want to employ in your efforts.


6 Social Media Customer Service Best Practices

1. Reply as quickly as possible on social media.

Most forms of customer support via phone and email are not typically expected to be available 24/7. Yet, social media customer support has created an “always-on” expectation.

As a result, 42% of consumers expect a response on social media within 60 minutes.

This means responding to inquiries, reviews, and complaints as quickly as possible is the best social media customer service strategy.

The effects of poor response time for customer service through social media are real, causing people to:

  • Tell their family and friends about the experience
  • Use another channel to escalate their concerns again
  • Buy less from a company in the future
  • Not recommend a brand’s products or services
  • Complain publicly via social media

Read that one more time: 56% will never use the company again.

On social media customer service inquiries, timely responses are rewarded.

Using Facebook for Customer Service

Your company’s Facebook support response time rate is clearly shown on your Facebook page.

Facebook only considers your business “quick” (or, very responsive) when it replies within 5 minutes or less—around the clock!

Now, you may not have the ability or resources to monitor social media accounts 24 hours a day.

Fortunately, the addition of programmable messenger “bots” and customizable away messages for off-hours give you other quick and effective options for providing customer service on Facebook.

Using Twitter for Customer Service

With Twitter, it’s safe to say that people expect a reply immediately.

This is, of course, the nature of Twitter.

The platform is often compared to a 24-hour news ticker with a constant flow of information. Therefore, conversations often occur in the same rapid fashion as texting.

By the numbers, 53% want a response within the hour on Twitter. What’s more, this jumps up to 72% expecting a response within an hour after issuing a complaint.

SEE ALSO:How to Use Twitter Chats for Marketing Your Business

To excel at customer service on Twitter, use the relationship-building techniques found at the center of any solid customer support process:

The challenge is Twitter’s 280-character limit, requiring a concise message.

In some cases, acknowledging a customer service issue, thanking the customer and providing resolution can be done in 280 characters or less!

But when it cannot, guide customers to DM (direct messages).

This is especially useful if an issue is negative—since Tweets are public and DMs are private.

Remembering the need for real-time replies on both public and private correspondence is important when it comes to using social media for customer service—and especially on Twitter.

Take a look at one of the more successful social media customer service examples, resulting in a sale.

Social Media Customer Service Examples: Best Buy

As seen in the screenshot below, Best Buy did not receive a direct @ mention on Twitter by the customer. They were likely listening for their brand name with a tool to monitor customer service on social media (see more on this later).

Within the hour, a customer service social media representative responded with a helpful message suggesting product specific to the customer’s pain point. In addition, the Best Buy rep even suggested items on sale.

Later within the same day, the customer purchases from the Best Buy brand and takes the time to notify them in the same social media thread on Twitter.

Here’s the deal:

Social media response times are certainly an important metric to focus on and include in a customer service strategy. Not only can it strengthen the relationship with a customer, but can boost sales in the right context!

SEE ALSO:How to Set Realistic Social Media Goals for Business Growth


2. Know which social media posts should be resolved in public or private.

You already know you can’t please everyone, so prepare for the inevitable negative comment or complaint.

Create a process to provide clear direction on handling customer service through social media for your business.

Guidelines are important to document and follow, as consistency can only strengthen your overall brand building.

I’ll explain further.

Outline which kinds of comments should be resolved publicly. These public social media comments would exist on:

  • Page posts or reviews for Facebook
  • Posts on Instagram
  • Openly via tweets on Twitter

Then, determine which conversations should become private—whether it be moved to direct message, email or phone.

This process looks different for every business but follows a general framework.

For direct messages that require research, reply immediately to let the sender know the message has been received and an answer is coming shortly.

For example-

Consumer: “I’m not seeing the tracking number for my recent order and it hasn’t arrived yet.”

Brand: “Hello [Name], Thank you for your inquiry! Let us look into that for you. We will reply shortly!”

Sometimes, a message does not seem to require a reply because it’s not a question. Still, be sure to reply so that your response rate percentage is not affected. The key is timely acknowledgment.

For example-

Consumer: “The new website was confusing but now I understand.”

Brand: “Hello [Name], Thanks for letting us know. Let us know how else we can help you.”

In Facebook, your comment should be the last message sent in the exchange. Facebook response rate algorithm is only able to tell who sent the last message. For example, even if a sender ends the exchange with “Thank you”, send another message saying “You’re welcome!” or “Glad we could help!”.

Social Media Customer Service Process Questions

Ask yourself the following questions to help create a process that works for your social media and customer service:

QUESTION #1
Who will review incoming customer comments to determine if it requires a positive/negative interaction?

QUESTION #2
What are some examples of positive and negative comments, based on customer service interactions your company has already had?

QUESTION #3
How do you handle it—if the interaction is negative, do you diffuse immediately or direct the customer to the phone for support?

Examples of Social Media Customer Service: GoDaddy

When a customer inquires about something that requires account information which should remain private, GoDaddy responds accordingly on Twitter.

Here are the important things to note in this social media customer service response:

  • A cordial, friendly opening line
  • Concise direction provided for the next step
  • Link embedded in the tweet for direct message

Using the CTA (call-to-action) link feature that Twitter provides helps save customers the effort of opening up another direct message thread on their own. Brilliant!

3. Respond to all social media feedback, questions, and comments.

Every post, review, and check-in on social media needs acknowledgment.

This is one of the biggest social media customer service best practices.

Don’t let someone’s thoughts go into a black hole.

A customer wants to be heard, plain and simple!

Since so many comments can be viewed by the public, businesses have an incentive to be attentive to everybody via social media.

The incentive is crystal clear: not replying equates to ignoring a customer.

Just as no business would ignore a customer in their store, no business should leave a comment unattended online!

Streamlining Your Social Media Customer Service Process

Use the data you gathered while answering the questions above in section #2.

Create a series of pre-written replies to help streamline the process of social network moderation.

The key to using canned responses is ensuring they read correctly to the end user.

Similarly to email replies, the customer will interpret words without tone and inflection. So, the best customer service responses should be written in ways that cannot be misconstrued.

However, unlike email these replies will be public—as will the time stamp (see section #1: reply as soon as possible on social media).

Users want personal attention, so customize the reply to the individual on a case-by-case basis. Scripted replies are guidelines you will modify to fit a situation.

The goal is to create a community feel.

Hence, responses that seem automated are counter-productive.

For major corporations, replying to every single post may not align with the overall strategy for social media and customer service simply because of the sheer number of comments.

The rate at which your company replies to posts can align with the size of your brand.

  • Small businesses need to reply to everything as a means of community-building.
  • Mid- to large-size companies may choose to acknowledge positive comments with a simple “like”, while putting more time into turning negative comments around.
  • Large corporations often dedicate entire teams when using social media for customer service. Some even manage support from a totally different account or page than the brand.

Social Media Customer Service Examples: JetBlue Airways

Airline travel can be frustrating when so many things can go wrong with delays, cancellations, lost luggage, etc. Therefore, customers often take to Twitter and Facebook to voice their complaints on social media publicly and can do so easily via a smartphone.

In this situation, relating to the issue and acknowledging the frustration helps a JetBlue customer service rep diffuse the emotion of an angry flyer.

When crafting customer service responses on social media, mirroring words can make someone feel heard:

I understand that you are upset about (insert their complaint here, and their name). We would like to speak with you by phone to learn more about the situation, so we can find a way to remedy it for you. Please call us: insert phone number.”


4. Include a greeting and be transparent with names or initials.

If a name is apparent from your customer’s social profile, don’t hesitate to use it with a greeting.

A simple “Hello [name]”, or “Hi [name]” helps reach out with a personal touch.

Furthermore, closing social media customer service responses with a -Sonia or -SG (first name or initials) also humanizes the response.

This creates accountability on both sides of the coin.

  • It makes the user feel heard by an actual person.
  • It allows the business to see who replied should there ever be a dispute.

Seems simple, but many companies don’t do this. These are easy things to include that soften a reply considerably.

Imagine that you are leaving a concerned comment or review, and the brand reaches out to you publicly. You wish to reply, but you don’t know who replied to you. So you just address the company, or no one at all.

Giving a customer your name humanizes the brand instantly. It offers them someone to speak to directly should they be interested in continuing the conversation.


5. Combat negativity with positivity on social media.

When a negative comment is posted, businesses can be inclined to defend themselves.

Always meet negativity with positivity.

They say the customer is always right, and that age-old saying applies ten-fold online.

When a customer complains in the store, perhaps three other customers could overhear.

When a customer complains on social media, every single one of your customers could potentially see it in their news feed!

Remaining positive also helps to breed support from your loyal customers.

Other fans or followers will often rally around the business when a single negative follower is antagonizing the company. Depending on how likely your business is to be on the receiving end of social media negativity, brainstorming positive responses can be a crucial piece of your customer service social media strategy.

To prepare for negative content on social media, consider gathering previous negative calls and emails for review. Then, create 1-3 positive responses for each.

The most important thing is to show you care and value the customer’s opinion, regardless of whether it started out negative.

Demonstrating empathy in your responses goes a long way when using social media for customer service. In some cases, it’s the difference between a 1-star review, and a 5-star one.

Social Media Customer Service Examples: Applebee’s

Let’s take a look at how Applebee’s handles an issue (they are known more for their humorous, quirky customer service responses on social media).

Applebee’s replies in a timely manner, greets a customer by name, apologizes, offers a phone number to take it offline AND signs with initials. All in under 280 characters!

(Note: since original publishing of this article, Twitter increased their character count from 140 to 280)


6. Monitor customer service through social media with a tool

The moderator for incoming customer service through social media should be given the same training that traditional representatives receive, and a tool to aid their process.

This holds true, regardless of whether you are a company with a new social media presence. Or, a company who has had social media platforms for a long time and just now using social media for customer service purposes.

Social Media Customer Service Tools

Monitoring customer service activity on Facebook and Twitter (and other platforms like Instagram or Google+) is best accomplished with tools such as:

These types of social customer service tools offer the ability to listen to consumers across multiple platforms. Accounts can be monitored by a single customer service representative or a team.

You’ll be able to add streams that show search results for phrases such as your brand name. What’s more, it can help you respond to questions or issues, without your company being directly @ mention or being tagged.

Oftentimes customer service social media training is included with the price of an online tool or software. Take advantage of this!

Because social media never “closes”, tools can notify you with a text or on an app—even when your business is off hours.


Conclusion

When they need to ask a question or solve a problem, consumers worldwide said they prefer to get help online, according to a study by Oracle on customer service.

The role of social media in customer service can play a big part in the success of your brand loyalty and advocacy.

With the right preparation and listening tool, using social media for customer service can take your digital community to the next level.

Be ready to use your social media platforms to support customers by including the six key elements provided here.

Let’s recap the essentials of your social media customer service strategy:

  1. Reply as quickly as possible on social media
  2. Know which social media posts to resolve in public or private
  3. Respond to all social media feedback, questions and comments
  4. Include a greeting and be transparent with names or initials
  5. Combat negativity with positivity on social media
  6. Monitor customer service through social media with a tool

How are you planning on using social media for customer service?

Tell us in comments below!

BONUS CHECKLIST
Use this checklist to create the right social media goals for business growth (includes examples). Outline your strategy for branding, conversions…and more!DOWNLOAD NOW

FreshSparks is a creative studio specializing in brand strategy, web design and development, and digital marketing. Your online presence needs to be a marketing machine. We can help you with that. Get a free consultation for your next project.

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WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: How to Respond to Complaints the Right Way in English

Few customer complaints are personal. Still, it's human nature to feel attacked and react emotionally in these scenarios, especially when you're actively trying to .

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