What to Do When Customers Get Mean on Social Media

Scott Levy| Entrepreneur

There’s a growing army of unhappy, sometimes bitter and angry customers who take to social media to vent their frustrations about a brand’s products or services. Sometimes they can get so mean that their feedback is more an attack than a request for customer service.

No matter the size of your company, angry customer tirades can damage your reputation online. In my experience, you can encounter at least two types of unsatisfied customers communicating with you over social media:

  • A person who was genuinely hoping for a good experience with your product or service, had a bad experience and simply wants to vent and seek acknowledgment or a solution.
  • Someone who actively uses social media to dissuade people from doing business with your company, and probably doesn’t care about your reply to his or her claims. This person hopes you do reply so he or she can drag you into a public fight.

Either way, dealing with these types of angry customers should be an opportunity to show the world how your company cares about customer service and that you stand behind your brand. With the right strategy, you can turn foes into fans and win new customers at the same time.

Here are five tips for responding to angry customers over social media:

1. Respond quickly. The longer someone waits for a reply the more steamed that person can become. Let the individual know publicly that you have heard his or her frustration or problem and that you’re on it.

2. Never show anger or engage in negative banter. Don’t stoop to an angry commentor’s level, as it can quickly escalate. Taking the high road and not replying with negativity sets you up for the win in the eyes of anyone who’s following along.

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