With the emergence of social media, customers are becoming increasingly
savvy about how to effectively focus the spotlight on poor customer
service, products and other sub-standard business practices.
In today's competitive environment transparency and integrity are
vital, so if you have skeletons in your closet, it's more important
than ever to clean up your act.
If a customer exposes a legitimate issue with your customer service,
your products or your other business practices (if only I had a dollar
for every time that's happened to me over the last 25 years), these
five tactics have proven highly effective in my experience:
1: The best and only policy is (and always has been) to respond
honestly and quickly.
2: Respond directly to the feedback within the platform it was
submitted, even if you plan to action the issue in other ways. For
example, respond to comments posted on your Facebook wall with an
answer on your Facebook wall, even if you plan to telephone the
3: Be sure your response is polite and professional. It's a good idea
to frame responses with the mindset that they might appear on the front
page of a newspaper...as has happened to some operators who didn't
consider this possibility.
4: Don't feel any obligation to be overly specific, but if possible
provide a brief explanation of how or why the issue occurred and if
relevant how you will address the issue in future, for example:
"We had a power
outage that afternoon, which explains why our telephones were off-line.
We're consulting with our provider to investigate options to mitigate
this in future".
5: Regardless of whether the customer is entitled to any formal
compensation under your terms of service or in respect to any warranty,
consider how you would want to be responded to if you were in your
customers position. Even a token offer of compensation can be a very
powerful display of empathy, however, be sure any such offer cannot be
misconstrued as patronising.