Tymado Multimedia Solutions | Saving a social media nightmare
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Saving a social media nightmare

Faces of social media

27 May Saving a social media nightmare

After a bad customer service experience, I took to social media to try to get a resolution and let others know about the poor service.

Unfortunately the company has yet to respond. Sadly, it appears the company might have lost more than my family’s business from this incident.

While I’m hardly an objective party in this case, I know a thing or two about responding to complaints.

Handling and responding to complaints in some form or another has been a part of my job for over a decade. I helped build the consumer complaint online form while at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. I have dealt with online complaints to websites for years and I’ve written articles about dealing with complaints, including having work published in college textbooks.

Sometimes we lose sight of the faces behind the computer. It’s easy to blow-off complainers when we can’t see them. Please don’t do that. Before taking any action, remember that this is a real person who is upset.

Then, think about these steps when you respond to a public relations crisis:

Step One

Apologize. Tell the complainer, first. Then make a sincere public apology. Don’t make excuses, don’t use the word “but.” This is about your business, not you. Do not let your pride get in the way of doing what’s right for your business. If you feel the need to explain, do so frankly and without getting defensive.

Step Two

Make it right. If you have the ability to offer a free service, refund or repair, do it. Let your public networks know how you agreed to make things right for the consumer.

Don’t have the ability to make it right? Apologize again and let your public network know how you plan to make things right for future customers. Maybe the consumer is unwilling to take a free service after having a bad experience. It’s ok, just let them know you are truly sorry and you appreciate their feedback.

Step Three

Correct the original problem. Fix your product or service, address customer service issues, deal with the underlying issues. Let your public network know about the changes you are making.

Don’t see anything to fix? Nobody likes to see the negatives in their business. So, make sure you are honest with yourself about potential areas to improve. If you still can’t find anything to work on, let things settle and keep your eyes open for similar complaints.

Yeah, but what if my business is not at fault?

Check your pride and ask yourself the following:

  1. Is the customer even a little right?
  2. Do you have the ability to make things better?
  3. Could it hurt my business more if I do nothing?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, start implementing steps 1 through 3.

Some complaints are completely unjustified. Maybe you provided stellar service, but the customer was having a bad day and didn’t see it that way. Apologize anyway. Kindness and sympathy can disarm hostilities, even unjust ones.

4 Comments
  • Sally
    Posted at 07:02h, 29 May Reply

    You are no expert just a little spoiled beat that can not keep a job. So you started distriying small businesses.

    • Amanda R Ford
      Posted at 09:23h, 30 May Reply

      Hi Sally,
      I just wanted to let you know that I hear you. I’m sorry you are so distraught over the HideAway Country Inn situation (http://tymado.com/2013/05/shame-on-hideaway-country-inn-help-me-take-action). I have no desire to destroy businesses. I was really hoping this post would reach you and you might want to take this opportunity to change. I have quite a bit of customer service and social media experience. I am always available by phone, email, Facebook, Twitter and my blog if you would like to resolve the HideAway situation.
      Thanks,
      Amanda

  • Sally
    Posted at 07:07h, 29 May Reply

    Stay away from this little girl who distorts small businesses.
    She will turn on you.

    • Amanda R Ford
      Posted at 09:19h, 30 May Reply

      Hi Sally,

      I am trying very hard to help you, in particular, save your public relations problem. I hope you have a change of heart and listen to my advice. I have a lot of experience in this field.

      Thanks,
      Amanda

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