For businesses large and small, utilizing Facebook is no longer an option – it’s a requirement. Your customers WILL be talking about you online, and Facebook is one of the top spots for this conversation to be happening… whether you are listening or not.

Leveraging Facebook and other social media platforms to their maximum potential is both a science and an art -- creating a truly cohesive social brand is a major and worthwhile endeavor, something we specialize in at Magenium. However, there are some simple guidelines to follow when dealing with customers on Facebook that everyone should know, even if the business is just starting out.

DON’T: Argue with customers

If a customer posts something about an experience they had with your business, you definitely don’t want to dispute it with them online. It frustrates the customer and will either discourage customers from posting – or even worse, bring out the trolls for a fight.

INSTEAD: Acknowledge the problem and direct it offline

A better way to handle a public complaint is to recognize the customer’s concern and direct them to contact you via private message or email. Even if what the customer says is blatantly false, an argument online will go nowhere fast. A social media consultant can help you find ways to craft responses to simultaneously “clarify” for other customers, while dealing with the complaint at hand.

DON’T: Copy and paste responses

This will make your business look like a robot, and gives a first impression of laziness. Customers will figure this out instantly, and make sure to point it out to your other (potential) customers. Besides, a personal response is the right thing to do.

INSTEAD: Type a personalized response to each customer

Yes, it takes longer, but shows that your business truly cares and is reading each and every post. Posts will sometimes be similar, if they are dealing with the same issue, but an individualized, organic response is the way to go.

DON’T: Make spelling and grammatical errors

Even the most minor of spelling or language errors in a response to a negative post will whip users into a frenzy. In today’s Internet culture, the tiniest of errors will get magnified and used as an “ad hominem” against you – e.g., “They can’t even spell correctly, how can they produce a quality product?”

INSTEAD: Proofread entries 2-3 times for correctness

This mistake is easily avoided through careful posting and use of available tools.

DON’T: Give more details than necessary

The customer doesn’t want to hear the story about how you’ve reprimanded that employee who gave them trouble 3 times already. A key thing to remember is that details often come from “drama,” and drama on your business’s Facebook page will never end well… trust me.

INSTEAD: Keep replies succinct and to the point

Acknowledge the issue and respond in a matter of fact way, leaving extraneous details out of the picture. Resist the urge to insert emotion into your replies – stick to the facts while being friendly and willing to help.

DON’T: Give excuses

Speaking of unnecessary details… offering up an excuse for a poor experience wastes your time, as well as your customer’s time, and looks just plain bad to boot. Plus, we all know that excuses always sound lame, even if they are indeed true. (Seriously, the dog DID eat my homework!)

INSTEAD: Take responsibility

Accept responsibility for the problem, and offer a solution for how you will resolve the customer’s issue.

Finally, the most important tip!

DON’T: Drop the ball

Dropping the ball is where most people fall short, and is perhaps the mistake with the longest lasting and most insidious effects. Replying to a customer is one thing, but following through with your promise is what really matters. I can't stress this enough.

INSTEAD: Follow through and take care of your customers

Replying to your customers in a professional manner is only the first step. Now, it’s up to you – the owner, manager, or social media rep – to make things right. Do it as quickly as possible. If you do, you might see a positive response. If you don’t, expect that angry customer to be very quick to point it out with a follow-up post calling you out.



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    Peter Redmer: Online Marketing Specialist, MCP in Chicagoland

    I work with SEO, SEM, online communities, Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, Yammer, and other digital productivity tools that help companies solve problems and make work easier... and more fun.


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