One of the main draws for companies making use of social media is that it enables them to have immediate and usually useful exchanges with their clients.
Unfortunately direct access and conversations played out in the public domain can be rather uncomfortable when the user has something to complain about.
In these circumstances the way you deal with the situation is very important and in particular you want to make sure that you respond to a person’s grievance as quickly as possible.
Failing to engage with someone if they’ve sent you a testy tweet or left a complaint on your Facebook page is often a big mistake, particularly since people don’t tend to take too kindly to the possibility that they’re being ignored. If you stay silent they’re likely to shout that bit louder and a situation could quickly escalate.
With this in mind make sure you respond quickly, remain calm and polite and start to look at ways to resolve the situation.
Where possible it might be beneficial to encourage the person in question to speak to you over the phone or through a private email. Depending on the nature of their complaint, trying to respond in 140 word bursts might not be particularly helpful. And of course removing the discussion from the public domain is preferable.
If it appears your firm is at fault it’s obviously important to be apologetic and attempt to make amends. It can, however, be harder to know what to do if the complaint is baseless; unfortunately there are a small minority of internet users who adore making mischief.
If you’ve done all you can to ascertain that there is nothing in a person’s post then you may have to consider the options of blocking or reporting your “troll” to a site’s admin team. While this should generally be a last resort it may be the best option with a persistent or particularly aggressive individual who has an axe to grind.
While complaints on social media can be unsettling, it’s important to note that they’ll generally make up a small minority of your exchanges and that providing you handle them in the right way there’s almost always an opportunity to resolve the matter in a positive way.