Friday, August 13, 2010

Complaint Handling in Social Media

Megan Berry writes an interesting article on Mashable listing five strategies for dealing with complaints on Twitter.  Her strategies are targeted at the short, realtime medium of Twitter, but they can be expanded for use with any social media customer service channel -- like this site!

Megan writes:
"It’s all too easy to get frustrated and respond with something that will just make the situation worse (“I’ll give you a refund right away… oh wait, you didn’t actually pay for this!”) or to take it personally and get upset. While there is no magic formula for dealing with complaints in social media, I do have a few tips that have helped me.

1. A Quick Response Goes a Long Way
- many situations can be defused by a quick reply to clarify the problem

2. You May Have To Respond As You, Not Your Company
- Posting from a personal account brings humanity back into the equation, not a person vs. a faceless corporation.

3. Give Yourself More Than 140 Characters To Respond
- Using email or even a phone call can help to turn around a problem

4. Let Someone Else Respond For You
- This one is touchy; if you have a following and fans who can provide a counterpoint, you can bring the issue to their attention.  But done wrong it will appear you are ganging up on the negative commenter.  This is where having a robust community is most helpful - you will find that the long term helpful problem solvers will automatically step in to try to resolve the issue.

5. Know When To Let It Go
- Sometimes, there's people you just can't help.  Examples for Sprint: Customers who just don't have coverage.  Products priced out of their budget.  Features that are discontinued.  The best you can hope for in some situations is a neutral agreement to disagree.  Then step back.  There are some people that just want to feed the flames or stir the pot, and continued dialog with them isn't productive.

There's no magic formula for defusing problem situations in social media, but these steps can help.  Be sure to check out the original article for some interesting comments!

via Rich Pesce from Sprint

(original post on Sprint Community /meta blog)
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