Your Facebook and Twitter accounts are humming along. Feedback has been positive. Your customers like what you’re doing.
Then it happens. A customer posts a complaint. It’s concise and polite. Frankly, you’re not sure whether he has a point or not. All you know is that he’s upset.
What do you do? Ignore the post? Look into the matter but don’t report your findings? Wait a week and, if he continues to post, apologize? Get back to him immediately, even though you’re not sure his claims are true?
If you don’t know, then your business does not have a strategy for handling social media criticism. Sadly, you’re not alone.
A 2014 survey of 1,036 marketers, social media professionals, C-level executives and business owners/entrepreneurs discovered the following:
- 74% of brands receive customer complaints via social media 4.9% receive them “very often”
- 23.4% of brands not only don’t have a social media criticism strategy in place, but also have no plans to develop one
- 7.6% have strategies that are ineffective
- 21.4% rarely or never respond to customer complaints in social media
- 26.1% of brands reported their reputations have been tarnished by negative social media posts; 15.2% lost customers; 11.4% lost revenue
These aren’t random findings. The recent RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report reveals:
- 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor
- 50% of consumers give a brand only one week to respond
to a question before they stop doing business with them
- 80% of consumer complaints about a poor customer
experience are ignored.
The conclusion is clear. If you do not address your customers’ concerns online, they will take action. John Souza, founder of Social Media Marketing University, puts it this way:
“So many brands are buying into the ‘friending equals spending’ mentality. They want the benefits of social media but aren’t truly aware of the investment of effort that’s required to see a return. As a result, this lack of effort rarely produces desired results and can lead to alienation of customers, fans and followers. It can even escalate to a backlash of negativity.”
So what’s the answer? Answer your critics. And do it quickly. The results may surprise you. According to the RightNow report, when customers received a response, 46% were pleased. Better yet, 22% even posted a positive comment about the company or brand.
If you don’t have a social media complaint strategy in place, it’s time to create one. This How To Handle Social Media Criticism Ebook can get you started. The sooner you get going, the sooner you can placate disgruntled customers – and win new ones in the process.