When it comes to handling customer complaints, social media can now play an important role for businesses of any size. Interacting directly with an unhappy customer via Twitter or Facebook almost always creates a good impression of your business – it helps to re-establish trust which may have been lost and makes the individual who is complaining feel they are valued and their opinions and feelings are respected.

Interestingly, it has been observed that those who are not involved but nonetheless see such conversations on social media platforms tend to be unconcerned with the initial complaint if the handling that follows it is appropriate. It’s quite routine for there to be occasional problems with products and part of the price we pay for anything is for the ability to ask somebody to address these issues if something does indeed go wrong.

Another important issue that many business owners will often relate to is the importance of receiving honest feedback. If a product or service is not as expected, these problems can only be addressed if complaints highlight the fact.

For many unhappy customers, complaints procedures can often feel like formal, tick-box exercises with little human interaction or engagement, which can lead to further frustration and a complete breakdown in their relationship with the organisation. It might feel counterintuitive, but discussing customer complaints in a public online space very rarely damages an SME’s reputation. More often than not, if done correctly, using social media to engage with unhappy customers can enhance your business profile precisely because there is nowhere to hide.

People Talking to People

By engaging through social media, an SME shows that it is open and transparent in how it deals with issues and problems when they arise. This is one advantage an SME has over a larger, more procedure-led organisations – SMEs are all about the small, the local and the personal, and social media can help you show the human side of business.

Social media has given businesses the ability to speak one on one with customers on a personal level in such a way that the conversation is held in the open, in front of the public and those who may require assistance in the future. By demonstrating that issues are handled promptly and professionally, this can instil a sense of confidence in the company. This is especially important if the same product/service can be purchased elsewhere

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