Fans Or Frenemies? 3 Tips For Facebook Customer Service Crisis Management

No matter the budget, simply posting content on social media is not enough to make the most of your social media marketing dollar. Many marketers know repeat customers drive the most business, which may explain why seventy-six percent of local merchants today look to social media to engage existing customers (Constant Contact’s Technology Pulse Q3, 2012).


But what happens when you’re publicly engaged by an existing customer on Facebook who doesn’t have nice things to say?

Just as the sun rises and sets, so will there be angry, vocal customers sharing their thoughts with the world by way of social media.

It’s vitally important as a Page admin, business owner and social media marketer to know how to handle crises online and respond appropriately.

Negative reviews or complaints about your business on any site shouldn’t go unaddressed, and Facebook is no exception. When a customer is angry enough to rant on your Facebook Page, chances are you’ve already lost their business (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us), but ignoring their complaint could cause additional damage.

Avoid creating Facebook frenemies by following these straightforward steps to customer service crisis management:

1.  Write A Reply Following The 3 Ps: Prompt, Polite, And Personal

Friends, family members and other fans that see the dissatisfied customer go without acknowledgement will be left questioning your customer service and may be more likely to choose your competition. Monitor your fans’ postings frequently to avoid having a complaint or negative post sit idle. If you’re a small business and you know of a recent customer service slip up, notify your social media manager to be on the lookout.

A prompt and polite reply demonstrates that you make customer service a priority, and your intention is to make it right. Use their name in your reply to make it personal. Don’t use a canned response; customers can sense inauthenticity.

Sephora's Facebook team's customer service reply screenshot

Sephora’s customer service team responds promptly to complaints and questions submitted to them via Facebook.

2.  Remember The Real Audience And Don’t Get Caught Up In Tit-For-Tat

In the unfortunate event that your customer is blasting their less than great feelings on Facebook, try to take emotion out of it and carefully craft your reply. Remember the age-old theory that “the customer is always right” —  and remember that your apology is in writing, so it must be genuine. This particular customer relationship may not be salvageable, but the real audience for your reply is the customers who will come after them.

A definite “don’t” is use of defensive language. Don’t get caught up in tit-for-tat — take responsibility for your actions rather than defending them.

3. Take The Resolution Offline Or Out Of The Public Eye

If the customer is receptive to your reply, it’s unlikely you can resolve the issue over Facebook. Unless offering a tangible solution, which can be conveyed directly in the reply (such as a coupon code for their next purchase), ask the customer to get in touch with you by phone or email so you can make it right. Make it easy for them by providing the phone number or email address in your reply.

Some pages successfully quiet customers by asking them to private message the page with more details of their complaint:

Storage company's Facebook reply to disgruntled customer screenshot

A national storage company provides a prompt reply to an angry customer, asking them to send a private message with more details to make it right.

I hope you’ll only need to use these tips once in a blue moon and that most of the time you’ll be getting positive, glowing comments from your Facebook fans. Don’t forget to respond to the positive ones as well, thanking them for the feedback!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook | Facebook: Marketing | Facebook: Pages | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing Column


About The Author: is Partner Accounts Team Manager at Search Influence, a national online marketing firm dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses compete online. Alison’s focus is on white label online marketing products for publishers and media partners serving SMBs.

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