How to handle customer complaints on social networks?

Jun 13th '17

Ignoring the power of online word-of-mouth is no longer an option in today’s world, especially in the financial services industry.  Understanding what customers feel, think and say about your company – in real time – is ever more critical.


Social media is a powerful tool for brands of all types. It helps them connect, engage, and establish trust with current and prospective clients, increase brand awareness, website traffic and ultimately increase sales.


Connecting and engaging with clients and fans is a great way to show the human side of your brand and establish trust and loyalty.  But what happens when something goes awry and negative comments start popping up on your brand’s Facebook page or Twitter feed?  How would you address this?


  • Don’t Ignore them

If you don’t reply to the comments, they won’t go away.  Respond quickly and appropriately to negative comments can help you increase customer loyalty and retain your client base.


It’s important to respond quickly and efficiently to all customer complaints.


We recommend that you acknowledge the customer and their issue within 1 hour. This doesn’t mean you need to have all the answers right away, but it is important they know you are on the case and treating the complaint seriously.


Also let them know when they can expect a response. This will help you manage expectations and reduce negative feedback. You’ve acknowledged the issue and set a realistic time frame for a response.


Remember customers use social medial 24/7, so any service standards need to provide this same level consistently, even on weekends.


  • Acknowledge when thing go wrong

When you apologise online, you acknowledge any mistakes and take ownership.


Ensure that when posting an apology online, that it is sincere. The ‘sorry you feel that way. We’ll try to do better.’ Approach doesn’t appear to be sincere, nor does it offer a real solution to the customer, which, again, only serves to exacerbate the situation.


When customers reach out to you with a negative comment, they’re typically looking for you to acknowledge and help resolve their problem. If you respond with an automated reply, you’re sending a message that you haven’t taken time to understand the issue and don’t value the customer’s input.


The ‘we hear you and value our customers. We will make this right immediately!’ approach is your opportunity to turn a disgruntled customer into your brand’s champion!


  • Take conversations offline

All communications on social networks are in the public domain, and often when dealing with negative comments, this can prompt others to join in.


The best course of action is to take the conversation offline so you can talk to the person one on one. This prevents the situation from escalating, and also helps calm the customer, because you’re working with them to resolve their issue.


  • Responding to negative comments

When responding to negative comments, we recommend you consider reassuring customers by


  1. Replying using a conversational/human tone.
  2. Let the customer know how you intend to deal with the complaint.
  3. Take ownership.
  4. Acknowledge the customer‘s situation in your response.


  • Have a social media strategy/policy

Knowing who has overall responsibility for use of social media and that senior management has ownership of the social media strategy is key.


You need to be aware of the escalation processes, and who to wake up at silly o’clock in the morning if something goes wrong?


  • Go that Extra Mile

One of the main reasons customers leave negative comments is they haven’t been able to get the information they need from the company.


The good news is you don’t need to have all of the answers. In fact, when you don’t have the answer, referring your customers to an external resource or even another company’s product or service can be seen as a good thing.


By doing this increases the customers trust in you. Customers appreciate that you’ve gone that extra mile to help them with their problem.


  • Follow Up

Once you’ve responded to a complaint, don‘t assume that you‘ve resolved the issue. Follow up and make sure you‘ve fully met the needs of the customer.


  • Deleting negative comments 

Deleting negative social media comments won’t make them go away. In fact, if you delete and ignore the customer, the likely they will keep on commenting and venting their frustration until you’ve addressed them.


You should never delete a negative comment from a customer, as other will see that you are proactive in dealing with complaints. Whether or not you in the financial services sector, there are archiving solutions to ensure you have compliant social communications.


  • Monitor what is being said about your brand

To keep on top of negative comments and prevent issues from escalating, it’s important to monitor what people are saying about your company on social media.


  • Don’t Take It Personally

Never take customer responses personally or respond to the customer in a negative manner as a result. Customers are not angry with you as an individual. The last thing you want to do is make matters worse and respond aggressively.


Author: Chris Hall


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At LS Consultancy, we offer a number of distinct products and services which can be deployed individually or combined to form a broader solution.


When you face business or regulatory challenges, we can provide solutions that are tailor-made to your needs with a view to releasing your energies to focus on your clients.


We work both within individual teams and across many departments to offer a complete solution, with a range of cost effective, compliance and marketing solutions including social media which are uniquely suited to supporting firms.


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