Dos and don’ts of handling customer feedback

18 Sep

Want to know how to deal with customer comments for your brand across social media?  Here is a list of a dozen or so dos and don’ts of handling customer feedback:

1) Do…
get back to the customer and acknowledge that they have posted a message on your wall, whist you find the answer/ or relevant contact.  Whether this is a positive or negative message, reply back on social media as soon as possible (we’re talking minutes rather than hours). Make sure that you thank the customer and let them know that you appreciate their feedback and will get back to them with a suitable answer as soon as possible.
2) Don’t…
make promises that you cannot keep.  This is very important as you could quite easily end up making the current problem worse than it is.   Reply back to the customer and let them know that you will get back to them and let them know once the issue/ situation has been investigated. This will then give you time to get the information you need and come back with a response which can be delivered.
3) Do…
make sure there is consistency across the brands social media channels and customer care.  Internal communication is very important here. The worst thing you can do here is respond with different answers across Twitter, Facebook etc. Not only does this look extremely unprofessional, but also changes the customers perception of your brand, reduces their trust and questions the brands honesty. To avoid this, employ a clear procedure internally where the relevant people must assess the situation/ issue together and agree on an outcome to be communicated across the communication channels.
4) Don’t….
always feel that you must respond to a customer. Although this may seem to contradict the first ‘do’, this is where it is important to assess whether a comment needs to be dealt with. Some comments may be just the customers way to ‘vent’ and express their feelings, but not necessarily require a response.  This is where you need to make a judgement call. You run the risk of replying and aggravating the situation further and engaging in an unnecessary dialogue.
5) Do…
emphasise with your customers and give a ‘human’ response rather than a ‘standard response’ which appears to be a copy and paste from a document. There are times when there is only a limited number of ways you can say the same thing, but just make sure that you show that you are speaking to that specific customer and make them feel that you are dealing with their issue.
6) Don’t…
use technical jargon. This can lead to misunderstandings and frustrate the customer.  Also, some brands deal with multiple languages, so when the customer tries to translate your response, this may be more confusing.
7) Do…
give as much detail as possible. It’s always best to put things in simple terms so that the customer is clear on what your next steps are/ what you advise them to do.
8) Don’t…
criticise the customer publicly or be rude as this is very unprofessional and reflects badly on your brand. If a customer is consistently using profanity, give them a warning stating that you will have to remove/ block them if they continue this way, and then action this if need be.
9) Do…
try and take the conversation off the Facebook page/ Twitter feed and deal with the matter privately, either via email/ direct or private message.  This is best for both the customer and the brand as there is less ‘spam’ on the wall/ in the feed and the customer’s details are protected.
10) Don’t…
use slang or forget to check the spellings and grammar of your response.  Make sure that you use a professional, amicable tone which is in line with your brands tone.  Also, make sure you don’t abbreviate words to avoid confusion.
11) Do…
have an agreed process/ policy on crisis management internally.  Some customer messages can be resolved quite easily at base level, but there should be a structured system in place to make sure that the right method is followed to get the situation under control.  If a certain department or individual is required to write a response statement, make sure that they are aware of this process and have agreed on a timescale. This is very important for social media as brands cannot afford to delay sign-off for a response and require three people from different departments to sign off a simple comment.
12) Don’t…
forget to make it clear who has signed off the message. Where possible do give a personal response on an individual level rather than as a brand.  People prefer talking to people rather than the generic brand name.  Some Twitter accounts have three or four dedicated individuals who will respond to queries and will sign off with their initials at the end of a message.
13) Do…
signpost customers to an alternative source if you feel that they will be able to get the answers from another platform a  lot faster – such as the website etc.
And finally, do let me know whether this helps you with dealing with any customer feedback. Alternatively, please feel free to leave any questions below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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