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Andy’s Answers: 3 inspiring ways brands respond to customer complaints in social media

Negative word-of-mouth happens to everyone. No industry, brand or product is immune to it. When it happens in social media, it can feel extra painful — because it’s out there in the open for everyone to see.

But true word-of-mouth marketers know that these experiences — while sometimes frustrating and disappointing — are opportunities in disguise. They take advantage of these moments to show customers that they’re listening, that they’re human and sometimes make mistakes, and that they care enough to fix the problem.

The next time it happens to you, think of these inspiring strategies others have used to win over upset customers.

  • Make them laugh: There’s obviously a time and a place for jokes when it comes to fielding customer complaints, but a good sense of humor can be disarming and personal enough to defuse a negative comment while showing you’re human. Bodyform famously did it with a hilarious (and viral) video response to a husband’s rant on the brand’s Facebook page about the company’s misleading, euphemistic TV commercials.
  • Be vigilant: No matter what their concern, your customers will appreciate a fast response — even if you’re just acknowledging the issue and letting them know you’re on it. For example, when one cyclist was almost hit by a UPS truck, he tweeted about the incident — and when he got home, he was contacted within several minutes by their social media team. He later blogged about being blown away by the company’s careful attention on his social business strategies blog.
  • Make it personal: Dell allows their employees to answer customer service concerns with their real names and sometimes post unscripted videos of them working out problems. When your community managers can reply in their own voice, it reminds negative commenters there’s a real person behind your company’s social media page — it also let’s them know a real person cares.