How to deal with social media conversations and complaints

social media complaints
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A recent study* revealed that a large portion of priority customer conversations go unanswered by brands. The biggest challenge companies said, was in knowing how to identify which conversations were high priority.

“A priority conversation refers to an urgent query about a brands service or product. Pre-social media, you didn’t have customers actively waiting online and refreshing their feeds for notifications, but today there is no excuse for a delayed response or worse, nothing at all. Customers see this as being blatantly ignored. Although it can be difficult to sieve through all the noise, there are very specific flags to look for that can help you decide what to action first,” says Brendon Bairstow-Klopper, from customer experience company, nlighten.

In this guide, Bairstow-Klopper offers up 5 ways to help a brand perform ‘social media triage’ and identify priority conversations and deal with social media complaints:

  • Provide a RESPONSE, not an answer

Before you assess the level of priority, all requests can still be acknowledged. Even if you don’t have the answer, a simple response to say you are aware of the request can put the customers mind at ease. Ignoring the request until you have all the information you need can make things go from bad to worse.

  • Read the EMOTION in the customer’s request

Learn to detect the level of emotion in a customer’s request. An easy way to do this is to look at each word separately and gauge whether the word is positive or negative. Mostly negative words used in a sentence or paragraph indicates a higher level of priority, e.g. words like trouble, waiting, broken, issue etc.

  • Pay attention to the TIMING

If the customer has just received a product they ordered and it’s not to their satisfaction, prioritise this immediately. Put yourself in the customers shoes and think of how it feels to have purchased an item, perhaps something you have been looking forward to and waiting for, only to realise that the product is faulty on the day you receive it. This level of disappointment can generate a lot of emotional frustration, so it should be treated as high priority.

  • Notice the FREQUENCY of the request

If a customer has commented more than once on your social page in a very short space of time, it is clear that they are demanding urgent attention. This could be a repeat of their initial request on your page, or ongoing activity in the comments section.

  • Use PEOPLE – not machines – to pick up nuance and tone

As impressive as AI programs and automated systems are, research shows that currently AI is only getting it right 50 to 60% of the time. We don’t get the results we want by handing over to the machine, we get them from being in charge of it. Use a community manager to filter through requests and where possible craft customised, personal responses.

*Study done by social media intelligence company, BrandsEye.

Brendon Bairstow Klopper

Brendon Bairstow-Klopper is Director of Customer Experience Company, nlighten.

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