In the world of customer service, angry customers are inevitable. As companies develop social media customer service plans the need for making sure their employees know how to de-escalate angry customers over social is vital.
Communicating through written words is a whole different ball game from speaking to someone over the phone. The anonymity that comes with communication over the internet can also cause some to take their frustrations out on the person behind the screen.
You can help your customer service team navigate these sticky situations with angry customers by providing them with specific techniques.
Read on for our guide to de-escalating angry customers over social.
Apologize, apologize, apologize.
When met with an unhappy customer, the first thing your customer service team needs to do is apologize. No matter how big or small their problem, the least you can do is apologize. I’ve found that a simple apology can often improve the situation immediately.
Whatever you do, don’t apologize to everyone in the same way. Replying “We’re so sorry to hear that,” every time a customer has issues may cause some users to think they’re talking to a bot. Others may roll their eyes at the lack of personalization.
A proper apology will go something like this:
“Hi, Jane. We are very sorry to hear that your order did not arrive in one piece and sincerely apologize.”
Validate their experience.
If a customer has had a series of negative experiences involving your brand, let them know you understand where they are coming from. Saying “We certainly understand your frustration Jane,” can go a long way. The customer wants to feel heard, and letting them know that you would be frustrated too is a good way to get that message across.
Let them know what you are going to do about it.
For the most part, people are coming to your social media channels for answers. As social media customer service becomes more popular, it’s becoming common for brands to hire a third party to take over CS on their social channels. This can often mean that your social media CS team doesn’t always have the answers.
Not being able to fix the customer’s problem immediately is not the end of the world. Especially if you make sure to outline exactly how you will be addressing the issue. If your social team is going to reach out directly to a customer service representative so they can contact the customer say, “I’m going to get this information to your customer service representative so they can reach out to you directly to address this for you, Jane.”
In a situation in which a customer is really worked up, they may complain about the experience they’ve had with customer service already, and in that case, you don’t want to give them a response that makes them feel like they are going around in circles. Instead say, “It sounds like your customer service experience did not live up to the standards that we hold ourselves to Jane. We will escalate your issue internally so that someone can reach out to you as soon and possible and try to improve your experience.”
Keep them updated.
Your brand may not have a 10-minute turnaround time when it comes to customer service complaints and that’s okay.
Keeping the customer informed as to how their situation is being handled can help make the turnaround time seem faster. Try answering with a “Thank you, I will look into this immediately,” then let the customer know that someone is actively looking into their complaint with something like this …
“Hi Jane, your complaint has been passed along to Customer Service and is currently being looked into by Stephanie. When she has more information, Stephanie will be reaching out to you directly.”
Whatever you do, keep your cool.
You can’t fight fire with fire. If someone is giving you an exceptionally hard time, take a step away and regroup. As frustrating as they may be, the person on the other side isn’t mad at you. They want their problem fixed as soon as possible, and you want them out of your hair as soon as possible. Do the best you can to connect them with the right party and move on with your day.
As more consumers turn to social media to address service issues, it’s important that you know how to de-escalate an angry customer over social. Follow the steps above and you should be able to diffuse any situation that comes your way.
Have you ever had to deal with an angry customer on social? Tell us how you handled it in the comments!
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Leah K. Williams
Leah is a Junior Account Manager for B Squared Media, a role that involves content creation and curation, customer service, reputation management and more. Leah is a writer at her core and holds a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Endicott College. When she's not writing you can find her adventuring in Maine with her husband and two rescue pups, Han Solo and Maya.
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