Handling customer issues is one thing. Handling customer issues in the world of social media is something else entirely.
No one likes to receive criticism, but you can turn it around and win both the loyalty of the complaining customer and those watching when you handle things correctly in the transparent world of Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
In a recent post, Salon.com, addressed this exact issue. The matter of handling customer complaints on a Facebook page was the topic for discussion.
The author made the appropriate suggestions of acknowledging the issue, making a connection with the upset customer by offering to email or meet with them personally do discuss the problem, and to ask for input.
While I think the author was on the right track, I feel that a major opportunity was missed. By offering to meet or discuss the issue privately was well intended, the company misses the chance to show the rest of the observers how well they can step up and resolve the issue in the best interest of the customer.
When the whole world is watching, you have the chance to show how you can shine. For this Salon.com instance, let’s suppose there was a complaint on the Facebook page of a local salon. Perhaps a patron or client was unhappy with a haircut or color and posted it on the page. The salon would follow the steps suggested by the author, but do so in public. My suggestion would be to apologize for the unhappiness of the client (this is empathetic and customers need that), offer to have the client return at no additional charge to correct the issue until the customer is delighted, and to thank them for bringing it to their attention.
Doing this quickly and for all the world to see shows the rest of the readers that the salon is aware of their presence on social media, is concerned enough to respond, apologizes for the unhappiness, wants to make it right, offers to make it right, and is not afraid to fix isolated incidents. People make decisions on what they see you do. If you don’t resolve issues where they can see the outcome, they are left to wonder what happened or feel that it was never resolved.
Don’t make the mistake of missing any opportunity to proudly display your problem resolution skills. You’ll be winning the trust of customers who may be on the fence about doing business with you.