It’s the double-edged sword of a great, interactive Facebook presence. You’ll attract a big crowd that actually comes into your location and spends money with you. That’s great. But if something goes wrong for some of them, they’ll come to your page to complain, because they know you’ll respond.
That’s a good thing. Yes, you want your customers complaining on Facebook because you want to hear and solve their complaints, instead of them simply sharing their bad experience with their friends and/or never coming back.
Also, a complaint is simply an invitation to convert a person into a fan. Think of it as an invitation to make things right. But there is risk – mishandle an angry customer, or simply ignore them, and your wall can go up in flames with angry posts from his/her network. Yes, customer anger goes viral.
Keep these steps in mind when dealing with an upset customer and you should be just fine:
- Know When It Happens – Set up alerts so you know when something is posted to your wall, or when you receive a message. If you don’t check email very often, then set up text alerts or push notifications. Speed is critical, and the sooner your response comes, the quicker the customer will be to simmer down.
- Don’t Delete – I can’t emphasize this enough. The quickest way to turn one angry customer into a full fledged mob is to delete posts and/or ban users. Taking away someone’s voice only makes them angrier.
- Respond Publicly – If the upset customer posts something on your wall, don’t delete. Respond publicly. Add a comment acknowledging their issue and that you’re looking into it. Ignore this if they contact you privately – keep that conversation between you and the customer.
- Take It Offline – When you respond to a public comment, ask them to give you a call or email you. You don’t want to hash out details or even your resolution offer in the public eye. =
- Make It Right – This is simple. Hear their complaints and fix the problem. Throw in a resolution offer to show you’re truly sorry. Yes, it’s not cool to have to give away a meal, or a free pedicure, but consider the lifetime value of the customer. If you turn that customer into a fan, they could have hundreds of visits to your establishment. They could share their good experience with dozens of friends, who tell friends, who tell friends, and so on. That’s thousands of dollars, if not more, in exchange for a freebie.
I can say from personal experience that many of the people who are willing to complain publicly are also willing to praise publicly. There’s a reason why customer service on social networks is much more responsive than “offline” channels. Your public success or failure will influence potential customers for years to come.