We’ve all been there. We weren’t happy with a company or its product. We feel horribly inconvenienced and somehow victimized by a company’s actions or its poor service quality. We want this company to pay for its unjust treatment, unethical behavior, or its fallacious product or service. So, what do we do? We take to social media to call out this evil empire publicly in front of all its followers, 'Likers', fans, customers, partners, stakeholders, and employees. It is our First Amendment right after all to say almost anything we want, voice our opinions and be heard! We hope our Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram photo, etc., is going to bring them DOWN for what they did and shame them to the nth degree!

What is a well meaning company to do? It is supposed to be using social media to proactively engage with customers and stakeholders; post fun pictures from the office party or the employee volunteer day at a local church or charity; announce its latest product or service offering; hold a contest, questionnaire, survey – all of that fun stuff.  Social media wasn’t initially designed as a customer complaint center, but it certainly is a great place for it! So how do organizations respond to those disgruntled customers who just want to be heard and let the world know how awful you are?

1.     Respond promptly!  An organization should respond within 24 hours of any customer complaint regardless of platform, be it email, Facebook, online form, or Twitter.  Delaying your response only adds insult to injury and further festers your customer’s anger and frustration. Plus, you’ve given them another reason to complain and in essence build their case against you.

2.     Be apologetic, sympathetic and informative in your response. Apologize to your customer. Let her/him know that you understand their frustration.  Give them a brief background on the situation: “We had a recent change of packing and not all of the product labels have been updated yet.” Let your customer know you care and are aware of the situation.

3.     Provide a solution and satisfaction.  “The product labels will be updated within the month. In the meantime, we would like send you a replacement product at no cost, which will include the new label and instructions.” You customer now feels you’ve catered to his or her needs. It also shows them as well as your audience that you are dedicated to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

With all that said, you can now go back to posting pictures of cute puppies wishing everyone a happy Monday and showing the world just how great you are!

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