Social media has given consumers a direct line to reach a brand and while this gives brands an exciting opportunity, it can sometimes feel as though boundaries no longer exist. The automatic human response is to either ignore the problem or make it personal, however as a brand, you cannot afford to react in this way. No response is a response and a bad response has the potential to tarnish the reputation of the brand forever. Mark Stecker, founder and CEO of Firewater said, “By not responding to a post, or having a delayed response, you are indirectly telling your customers that you do not care… and that is something a consumer will never forget.”
In order to avoid losing consumers over complaint or query, there needs to be a plan in place. Make sure you have a team behind your brand dedicated to responding to these types of queries. “Consistency is important,” said Stecker. “You cannot respond one way to one consumer and a different way to another.” Consumers are smart and if they suspect that you have treated one better than the other they will make it known. Have a list of set responses ready for the most common complaints or queries. Not only does this cut your response time in half but it continues to showcase your brand’s consistency and dedication to solving issues correctly.
It is also important to respond as humanly as possible – your brand is not a robot, your replies shouldn’t be either. “By responding in a human manner, you can avoid turning the problem into a catastrophe,” said Stecker. “You need to be able to deal with the complaints as quickly as possible and if this can be done in a calm manner it makes all the difference.” When a consumer feels as though you understand their complaint, they are more likely to discuss the issue calmly with the brand representative and if the conversation turns ugly, you need to take it offline. “If you feel that the conversation is taking a turn for the worst, don’t be afraid to message the consumer directly and respond calmly. Remember that if an ugly conversation is public, it can be screenshotted and sent to the world,” said Stecker. “Be smart and don’t make it personal.”
Learning how to deal with complaints is a process and Firewater has ridden the wave. With experience in community management, the Firewater team are calm and confident when responding to complaints. “At Firewater we find solutions and conclusions to social media queries and complaints, rather than exacerbating the issues,” said Stecker.
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