How to Complain on Social Media

As someone who manages social media for small businesses, I’ve seen it all when it comes to complaints, ridiculous to incoherent. Many times I myself have taken to social media to complain about poor customer service received, and many times I have found a resolution that way. Because social media is so very public, it’s easy to see why many companies want to resolve your complaints on social media quickly. Here are some tips on how to complain on social media when your goal is resolution, not creating a spectacle…because, yes, sometimes, some people just want to create a spectacle.

Try to remove emotion

Being neutral is difficult when you’ve been wronged, no question. It is hard to keep the anger at bay and stick to the simple facts of the situation. Sleeping on it can help. Don’t tweet when angry. Come back the next day and try tweeting or posting about your issue when you’ve calmed down some. The more you can keep it neutral and factual in your complaint, the more we want to help you, not just get rid of your complaint.

Don’t kill the messenger

Remember the person who is receiving your complaint probably didn’t make the policy or product you’re complaining about. It may be “above their pay grade” to do much about it–don’t get me started on empowering your customer service team. Name calling, swearing, threatening, etc. doesn’t make the person on the other side want to help you more. They are a person, too and deserve to be treated as such.

Use spell check

Nothing brings out typos like anger. If your complaint is full of typos and really poor sentence structure it’s going to be harder to understand your issue. Then I’ll have to ask questions and the whole complaint and resolution process will take longer. Take a little extra time to ensure words are spelled properly and sentences make sense so there is no confusion.

Don’t be a douchecanoe

There’s no need to threaten to call the BBB on us (first of all, that’s not really how that works). Likewise, threatening to call the media because we did or didn’t put green peppers on your pizza is laughable. Starting a boycott because you didn’t understand how the pricing worked, or because you couldn’t return your three -year-old purchase…well, let’s just say it’s not us, it’s you.

These are just a few things I observed while managing some retail accounts over the last few years. I’ve even had people I know complain to my client accounts and had to ┬ádeal with them anonymously. Sometimes I’ve even disagreed with the policy I’d been regurgitating. Above all, let’s try to be a little kinder when we provide feedback to stores and service providers. I’m sure they will, in turn, try to help you a little more, too.


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