Help! A customer complaint on social media is going viral! #SocialMadness

A customer has voiced a legitimate complaint about Company A on social media, and the concern is going viral. How does Company A respond?

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Again, this week, I join in with Brandon Uttley, social-media product manager for Sales Performance InternationalLaura Bell Greeno of WebScout Online Marketing; and Crystal Dempsey of From The Hip Communications to weigh in on the question.

Here’s my view:

Despite all of its glory and benefits, social media has obviously given new license to the world for expression. We can do it now like never before, with immediacy and virality.

Any time a company receives or catches wind of a complaint, it needs to be viewed the same as if someone walked into their crowded “store” and addressed them. Even as a small business, there’s a tendency to think you can dodge it or dismiss it, but you’ve got to be proactive and address it properly. Otherwise, you’re dealing with a potential avalanche.

Back in my media sales days, I used to hear a couple of flippant phrases tossed around the bullpen whenever the new ratings came out. They’re both true in their respective cases: “The masses are asses” and “One person represents 1,000.”

Truth is, these days, a happy customer tells five people, an unhappy customer tells 10, and a restituted customer tells 20.

While the customer isn’t always right, and you may have standards and policies that beckon you to stand your ground, all your customers really care about is their experience, getting a good product and the relative value of those.

If you engage in a timely, humble, compassionate and even funny way, offering a solution that supports the value they’re looking for, you’re likely to defuse the issue and win some additional fans in the process.

Come out defensive and swinging, and you’re screwed.

CLICK HERE to see what the rest of the crew says over on the Social Madness blog!

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