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It’s an unfortunate truth that there are many people out there who use social media as their personal place to vent about their issues with a company’s services and products. They see the Internet as their own sounding board and often use the platform as a way to launch a full-fledged attack on a company.

This type of attack can happen no matter how big or small your business. The angry customer can do a lot of damage to your brand’s reputation. These people can fall into two categories:

• A customer who had a bad experience. He or she wants to be acknowledged and is seeking a solution.

• A person who was not satisfied with your product or service and wants to discourage others from using them too. They are more interested in the public drama this can create rather than an amicable solution.

The more extreme the customer complaints on social media, the more frustrating it can be to deal with them. Instead of letting these things bother you and make you consider shutting down your social networks, look at them as opportunities to show everyone you take complaints seriously and care enough to take a stand for your brand.

You might not be able to turn those crabby customers into avid fans, but you may just win your company some new customers when they see how well you handle even the nastiest of complaints.

When you are faced with a mean customer, here are five ways you can respond to them for the best possible outcome:

Give quick responses

Think about how frustrated you get when you are put on hold with a business’ customer service line. The longer you have to wait, the more angry you get. It is the same with social media. For customers, it is another way to reach out to your company for help. If it takes too long for you to respond, they are going to be more difficult to please.

Respond to complaints and questions as quickly as possible. Let them know you have heard them and that you are working on a solution.

Do not respond with anger The last thing you want to do is stoop down to the level of an irate customer. Instead, treat them as pleasantly as possible. Apologize and go out of your way to try to make amends. They might never be your customer again but, if you refuse to engage in an online battle, his or her anger will fizzle and he or she will move on. Meanwhile, others will see how you responded professionally and respect your company more.

Make a personal connection

Do what you can to make better connections with the customers. Have your social media handler sign their posts and tweets, even if just with their initials. This lets customers know there is a real person responding — they can point to that name and say, “This is who I was dealing with,” instead of some faceless entity. Also, use the customer’s name in your responses to make that connection complete.

Work hard for a positive outcome

Make sure the customer knows you want to find the best solution to the problem so he or she is satisfied. Don’t just spout words to make the person calm down. If you fail to help where you can, then you will still have an angry customer with one more thing to complain about.

Go offline

Some details don’t need to be hashed out for the public to see. Take advantage of private or direct messaging and email to reach out to the customer after the initial public response. It is better to get detailed information in private without splashing details all over social media.

When you come to a satisfactory resolution, be sure to share that with your social networks. This shows others that you have taken the situation seriously and worked hard to find the best solution for the customer.

Have you ever dealt with an angry customer online? How did you handle the situation?


Dawn Pigoni of Be Social Worldwide is a certified social marketing specialist and a social media virtual assistant. Dawn offers superb social networking, social marketing and social bookmarking to WAHMs, Small Business Owners, Internet Marketers, Affiliate Marketers, and Coaches who desire to bring stunning internet presence through social networking to their businesses. Get Dawn’s free report, Social Networking today & see how she can assist you with being Social Worldwide!

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