Three Steps to Handle Social Media Complaints

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It happens.

You can be providing the best service, at the most affordable price, in the most timely of manner… but you can still receive complaints.

Whether your small, local business owner or a growing international enterprise, negative feedback on a public forum can feel like a huge stumbling block to overcome.

To make it easier for you in those panicky moments, we’ve pulled together Three Steps to Handle Social Media Complaints:


1) Act Fast and Upfront

The worst thing you can do after receiving a complaint on social media is ignore it.

Even if you think the individual is stretching the truth, causing a fuss or out-right lying, more damage will be done by not acknowledging the issue.

It is important that you have someone monitoring your social accounts as often as possible and that you have the capacity to respond as soon as physically possible.

Asking the individual for more information about the issue and – more importantly – to take the details privately is key to handling the complaint.

Something as simple as…

Hi *name*, thank you for your message. I’m sorry to hear your having a problem – can you please DM the details and I will follow this up with the team as soon as possible? Thank you

…will show your wider social media audience that you’re a brand that cares and are willing to listen to customers.

If you don’t have the capacity for full social media coverage, many agencies (included Loaded Hype) offer monitoring and strategy packages which mean you’ll have total management of your social presence.


2) Engage and Investigate

Once you’ve taken the issue out of the public sphere, use direct messages to ask the individual for all the information you will need to fully investigate.

If you need to know when they visited your shop, what item they purchased online or who they’ve previously been dealing with, now is your time to ask.

You also need to understand what would be the ideal outcome of the situation for the person – this will be crucial in completing the handling of the complaint.

When you have all the information, try to give the individual an idea of a timeframe. People who are left in the lurch are likely to complain again.

Now, investigate.

Understand whether their complaint is justified and what exactly happened. Once you’ve completely worked out the situation, you need to weigh up if your brand was in the wrong and how you are willing to rectify it.

Remember – even if you’re in the right, ‘good will’ can go a long way if you judge it to be worth it.


3) Respond and Action

The final stage of the complaint is responding the person.

Giving a summary of what you have done since you last spoke (i.e the investigation) is key to show that you have taken the complaint seriously.

If you have deemed that the brand was in the wrong, you should apologise, give the reason for the mistake being made and outline what you are willing to do rectify the issue.

It’s also worth noting any provisions that have now been put in place to ensure the mistake doesn’t happen again.

However, if you find that the brand acted accordingly you need to detail your policy and the reasoning for it. This is the time when you need to weigh up the value of a ‘good will’ gesture.

Finally, you should make a judgement call on asking the customer to remove their initial complaint – if you think they are happy and the issue is resolved, they may be willing to do so!


If you need help with your social media strategy or crisis management, give Loaded Hype a shout. There’s a lot we can spill over a nice cup of coffee…

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