You know those bozos who seem determined to bring your business down by using your Facebook page as a bitching board? The ones who decide to vent all their pent up anger by directing it, publicly, at your company?
I’m going to show you what do to about them.
But first, let’s have a little joke at their expense. Here’s an open letter to all Facebook fans by social media manager Marian Schembari. Put your coffee mug down to read this, it’s laugh out loud funny.
Dear Every Single Person Who Likes a Facebook Brand Page,
I apologize in advance for this letter. I’m much more articulate when I write and while I’d love to do this in person, I’m not sure it will come out the way I want.
I love you, you know that. You are my livelihood and make Facebook fun.
But sometimes… how do I say this lightly… you’re, well, a bit of an idiot. […]
No, we won’t reduce the price on our 100 year old product because you’re on a budget. Please stop complaining about cost. We didn’t just whack a price on something for fun times. Businesses think this out and you complaining about it every day just makes you look like an ass. And a poor one at that.
No, I can’t just send you free stuff. Stop asking.
I’m sorry the link isn’t working just for you. Have you tried turning your router on and off again? […]
We’re not going to give you a free whatever-you-want because something bad happened. You are not entitled to bitch out an entire company/brand. Social media does not replace customer service. You cut yourself while opening a package? That’s a sad story, bro. … One mistake doesn’t mean you have the right to be a complete ass hat. […]
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGERS ARE NOT CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGERS. Social complaints go through the escalation process exactly like the ones via phone or email. You may get a quicker response because the social manager fears for her life, but just because it’s a public complaint does not mean you deserve special treatment.
(You can read the full letter here)
Much as it would be fun to respond to Facebook complaints with Selected Extracts from Marian Schembari, that’s unlikely to prove fruitful in growing your Facebook reputation.
There’s a simple trick to responding well to complaints.
Take a deep breath, and look at the situation from your customer’s point of view.
They’re human beings, too.
Once you can see that, you’ll zen out and no longer take their complaint personally. Yes, from your perspective, you’ve invested a lot emotionally and financially into your business, and what right does this Facebook punk have to slander your reputation?
Yet from your customer’s perspective, they’ve invested their hard-earned cash in your product, and it’s failed to meet their expectations.
Step into their shoes for a moment and see how that feels. Think about how you feel when you buy a product that fails to deliver. When you bought a sandwich that tasted gross, when the flight you booked to the most important meeting of your life was canceled, when a sales assistant frowned grumpily at your attempt to make conversation.
Remind yourself: we’re all jerks at times. We all have bad days when we’re angry, tired, annoyed, or frustrated.
Once you’ve flipped the situation and looked at it through your customer’s eyes, you’re ready to respond.
Sometimes, a simple apology is enough. That shows you’re listening, and many complaining customers just want to know they’ve been heard.
More often, you’ll need to apologize and offer a solution. The solution might mean offering a refund, or a gift voucher to spend in your store. It might mean offering to talk through their experience in more detail over the telephone.
On some occasions, where the complaint is obviously spiteful or written with malice, you can ignore and delete it. This should never be your first option, but when you know you’re responding well to customers with genuine problems, then you can delete malicious complaints with peace of mind.
Lastly, as you write your response, keep the 3 P’s of customer service in mind.
The 3 P’s to transform sad customers into happy customers
Being professional means detaching your emotions from the situation, and responding politely to all complaints, no matter how you feel about them. Looking at the situation from the customer’s point of view, and empathizing with them helps with this.
Fighting fire with fire only increases the heat. Responding negatively to complaints will only worsen your customer’s experience (and it’s already been bad for them).
Conversely, being positive in the face of their complaint wins them over to your side. By giving out positive energy in the face of their complaint, you begin to turn their bad experience of your company into a good one.
A positive attitude is infectious!
As you write your replies, be a human being, not a corporate robot. People want to know you’re a human being with feelings, just like them. Write in a friendly tone, and show you understand the situation from their point of view.
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