The Drum has revealed that 31% of consumers will take their rage onto social media platforms and complain about bad customer service that they had received from a specific brand. The most common platform to do so is Facebook, and women are more likely to take their complaints online over men. By monitoring these complaints as a part of your PR programme, companies can pre-empt disasters and research into product flaws. By responding in an appropriate manner, your company will also earn kudos from the community and build a positive brand experience.

Some companies monitor consumer complaints and respond immediately: a good example of that is a makeup brand Clinique’s Twitter account managed by the PR team who look for tweets with the negative customer experience and respond accordingly to fix that clients perception of the brand. As most of these tweets engage other users in a conversation, Clinique’s presence is vital to show its clients that the company cares about individual customers proving it’s right to be seen as a high-end brand with a luxury experience.

In contrast, a low-end beauty brand MUA shows the perfect example of how a company should not behave in a social media crisis. Hosting a 50% off sale a few months ago, MUA’s website couldn’t take a number of purchases that were made and simply crashed. It happens. Most companies would apologise to its clients and reassure them. Oh no, not MUA. They proceeded to Internet SHOUT over Facebook at their concerned customers telling them to stop buying their products. Encouraging, I know. After several of these posts, surely enough the customers were shocked, angry and fed up. Most of them dumped their baskets never to return again. But to make matters worse, the beauty blogger community witnessed this disaster and swore off the beauty brand. It’s been months since this happened, and I have rarely seen posts from key beauty bloggers featuring MUA’s products. By behaving in such a way, MUA presented itself as a budget, inexperienced company who don’t know what good customer service is if it slapped them in the face – all thanks to their PR team.

A survey revealed that 56% of users have their tweets to brands ignored and that is just not good enough. As a brand, establishing a trustworthy, responsive and problem-solving relationship with your customers (whether it’s B2C or B2B, it doesn’t matter as a customer is a customer in every industry) is key. Here are just some tips you can follow in a social media crisis situation:

Stop and think

Before you make a rash decision and post an update or a reply, take a minute and think about the implications of what you are about to say. Remember that what goes out to the masses – stays out. Even if you delete your post, some hacked off customer or journalist would have screen grabbed it and it will be used against you.

Customer is always right

If you ever worked in retail, this will be drummed into your head and the same goes for social media. Don’t get into arguments with consumers on your profile page, instead, offer them a way to resolve the problem – even better if you can ask them to DM (Direct Message) you and talk privately.

Don’t hide!

In a social media crisis, you must establish your presence and try to resolve the issue. If you hide, other readers will just hear one side of the story and believe the drama around an issue.

See this as an opportunity to turn negative PR into positive

Don’t be afraid of bad comments, it all depends on how you react to them. If you solve the issue and show your followers that you have good customer service skills, you will gain more credibility with the online community. Even better if there is an opportunity to offer discounts or freebies and gain more clients!

Pick the right agency

At Rooster, we will assign experts in social media to work for you to build your follower base, help your brand interact with your desired audience and be on hand if ever a social media crisis explodes on your page.

Contact us on [email protected]