How should I respond to complaints on social media?

Glenn W. Peterson

If you’re a small business owner in California, chances are you use social media to interact with consumers and provide information. Some consumers may take this opportunity to complain about some aspect of your business, and it’s essential that you respond correctly to mitigate damage. In this case, Marketing Land offers the following advice.

Provide answers to the public

When encountering complaints on the internet, you may feel the best course of action is to direct message the person complaining. Keep in mind that your customers will continue making their claims publicly and responding privately deprives you of a prime opportunity to refute these claims. While you don’t have to answer every instance of dissatisfaction publicly, posting your initial response on a public forum is a great way to nip issues in the bud.

Express empathy about what happened

Never be dismissive about customer complaints, even if they seem overblown. Empathy is key in this case, as it’s the perfect way to diffuse a tense situation. Try to look at it from the customer’s perspective and offer a heartfelt apology for their poor experience. If the complaint is about a product, you can also consider offering a refund.

Know when to let it go

Some customers will remain unhappy despite your best efforts, and it’s best to simply let go of the matter after the second response when this occurs. The constant back and forth will call your authority into question, especially if the exchange devolves into name-calling. It can also turn other customers off, even if your defense is correct. Instead, invite the disgruntled customer to carry on the discussion privately if the matter can’t be resolved. If he or she is unwilling, stop responding to any subsequent claims.