When it comes to giving feedback, consumers are likely to complain or rant via social media instead of telling the brand directly because for them, it’s easy and safe. After all, they are behind the safety net of their laptops and smartphones.
Brands, on the other hand, have much to lose with complaints on social media.
In one survey, researchers found that online users read more than 1 million customer service-related tweets every single week. Among them, 80% are critical and/or negative.
If you want to improve the way your team handles complaints on social media, you have to be acquainted with different types of customers who post negative reviews online. Here are four of them and how to deal with their online complaints.
1. The Know-It-All Customer
The new @starbucks rewards system is bullshit. The fact that they said its what customers are requesting makes it worst and insulting.
— Dave Tung (@davetung) February 22, 2016
— Dave Tung (@davetung) February 23, 2016
The fact that most people do online research first before purchasing increases the likelihood of your customer support staff to deal with this kind of consumer.
This is the type of customer who has read all the product reviews and descriptions and compared your product to others. This customer also reads blogs about your product, and perhaps, asked friends who already bought one. This is the kind who walks into your store armed with knowledge but still asks the staff what the product is about just to confirm what he or she already knows.
When this type of customer posts a complaint online, it is often the type that gets a lot of attention because it seems the company is caught off guard.
Best Response Tactic: If you received a negative review from this type of customer, acknowledge the problem. A sincere apology usually helps pacify the well-informed consumer followed by an acknowledgment of their expertise on the subject. It is important to address complaints immediately, especially from an irate online user.
Another surefire way to pacify an informed shopper is to provide them more information about the product that is not readily available online. This way, the customer will feel like you are adding to his knowledge database.
2. The Highly Aggressive Customer
@KarlaPotterWho The new program reflects the #1 request we heard from members: more ⭐️s awarded based on what you buy.
— Starbucks Rewards (@starbucksgold) February 22, 2016
— Jdubs (@BigJDubs) February 22, 2016
Every single business has this type of customer on social media. This type is perhaps the most feared among customer support staff because this person is highly aggressive on voicing out his complaints. This type of customer also does not accept excuses especially when he knows that the company is at fault.
In social media, this type often recruits friends and even strangers to his cause. The online complaints could be a short or longer, but both can be damaging to a brand’s online reputation if not addressed in a timely manner.
Best Response Tactic: The highly aggressive customers are poised to pick fights online. The best way to handle this type of irate customer is to prevent any type of confrontation. There are cases when customers just want to vent out. Other times, they want the brands also to lash out online, which could damage reputation with a single post.
Training your customer support services to deal with this kind of customer is important. First, thank the customer for sharing his feedback. Second, allow the customer to vent and share his opinion. Third, acknowledge the problem and give assurance that it is being dealt with.
3. The Freeloader/Rip-Off Customer
This type of customer is monetizing on the impression that brands will do everything to avoid bad press. They communicate with the brand through social media with the clear intention of getting freebies. And when brands reply in an off manner, they share the private conversation to their friends, hope to make it viral, and coerce the brand into giving in.
Best Response Tactic: While it is tempting to troll a freeloader online, brands should maintain their composure when dealing with rip-off customers. The key is to respond objectively with the cool façade of how professional the brand can be.
By responding objectively, most freeloading customers back off immediately knowing that their tactic has failed. However, some freeloading customers do connect with brands with the hope of connecting them to charities.
In cases like these, do analyze if the brand is in the position of lending a hand. After all, generosity goes a long way.
4. The Won’t-Wait Customer
@marieclaire156 We’re sorry to hear this Marie, please can you DM us your VIN and more info, we’d like to look into this for you. Thanks
— BMW UK (@BMW_UK) November 21, 2016
Normally, this type of customer transitions into the Highly Aggressive Customer if his complaints are not addressed in a timely manner. With so many brands angling for the biggest share of the consumer pool, customers know they are spoiled for choice.
And with social media, customers demand brands to address their complaints immediately. They don’t want to wait weeks or days. Rather, they expect the brand to fix their problems in a matter of hours, minutes even.
Best Response Tactic: The first thing you need to do is issue an apology through the public post. Next, it is important to veer the discussion away from the public. Encourage the user to converse with you in a private message, especially when asking for private information that could help solve the problem.
Pacify an irate customer through an apology and giving assurance that the issue is being solved. It is important not to blame any managerial or staff shortcoming that could spark bad publicity about your business.
Learning How to Deal with Social Media Complainers
When it comes to social media complaints, it is important to note that whatever you post can and will be used against you in the digital arena. Irate customers can screenshot any unusual response from the customer service support team and make it viral in a matter of hours. These can make or break your brand in a matter of days.
When dealing with various types of online customer complaints, remember the three As namely Ask, Apologize, and Assist. Get all the details you need to get a clear idea of the problem. Then, acknowledge and apologize for the mishap. Finally, do everything you can to assist the customer in solving the problem away from the public’s eye.