4 Critical Steps for Handling Customer Complaints on Social Media

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For many customers, social media is the perfect place to voice complaints. On social media you don’t have to pick up the phone, you don’t need to be confrontational in person, and the internet offers a certain level of anonymity creating the perfect environment for complaints to be posted. Understandably, this can cause a headache for anyone managing social media pages.

How you respond to customer complaints on social media can make or break your reputation. When done right, it’s the perfect place to show your customers how much you care about them. Initially negative comments can quickly transform into positive customer interactions when you follow these 4 tactics.


Always listen to your customer’s feedback. These customers are taking the time out of their day to tell you about their experience. Good or bad — if it’s important enough for them to tell you about it, you should show them that their experience is important to you by listening.

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This customer wasn’t even asking for a response or resolution in their complaint on Twitter, but Seamless showed they were listening, apologized for the mix-up, and offered to look into the situation more.

Respond with Compassion

You should never let a customer think their complaint has gone unheard. If you were dealing with the complaint in person or on the phone, you wouldn’t walk away or hang up without offering some kind of resolution, and social media shouldn’t be any different.

For the most part, you should avoid posting generic responses to customer complaints. Writing a personalized response is another great way to illustrate that you’re invested in each and every customer’s experience.

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This Tweet from Bank of America is an example of a generic, automated response. The initial comment was politically motivated and had nothing to do with an account that needed to be reviewed.

It’s also important to be as quick as possible when responding. You definitely don’t want to let complaints go unanswered for too long. Your customers should always be your top priority, and putting their complaints on the bottom of your to-do list can definitely make it look like they aren’t top priority. When you’re quick to address the issues, your customer service team and your business will shine in the eyes of others.

Apologize and Offer a Solution

Admitting you were wrong is hard. But everyone and every business makes mistakes — most customers understand that. Apologizing for the issue and working with the customer to resolve it shows that you’re committed to doing better.

You don’t have to offer the solution publicly — there’s nothing wrong with resolving it through a private message. Your followers don’t need to know every last detail, they just need to see that you’re attentive and understanding. You’ll find that most customers aren’t out for personal gain, they just want you to fix whatever went wrong.

And be sure to thank the customer — not only for the initial business, but for taking the time to give the feedback.

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Zappos customer service team took the time to help this customer through her problems, apologized for the confusing process, and ended up turning a negative situation into a positive.

Don’t Delete the Comments

Deleting customer complaints can actually hurt your business instead of helping it. Deleting feedback shows customers that you don’t care about their experience which will can deter potential customers from shopping with you.

There are a few exceptions — if the customer’s complaint contains profanities, is racially charged, or calls out personal information rather than being an actual business complaint, removal of the comment may be in order.

Customer service is one of the most important factors to the success of any business and social media is a great place to show your customers that you care. Handling customer complaints with care will bring them back and even drum up new business when people see how well you treat your customers.

Written by

Seasoned sales and marketing pro. Owner of TabithaNaylor.com. Founder of WEcanmag.com Sucker for dogs.

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