Nathan Sykes
September 12, 2018

How to Respond to Happy and Unhappy Customers on Social Media

Respond to Happy and Unhappy Customers on Social Media

Social media has transformed both customer service and marketing. Customers now use platforms like Twitter and Facebook both to complain about companies and to compliment them.

Some businesses see social platforms as just a potential problem — a source of public customer complaints against them. The companies that get ahead are those that instead see it as an opportunity to resolve issues, win back unsatisfied customers and encourage happy ones to stick around.

The fact that social is an opportunity isn’t just an observation. Research also backs it. A JD Power survey found 67 percent of online consumers use social media for customer support, while Bain & Company research discovered customers spend 20 to 40 percent more with companies that respond to social media comments. And while the average cost per interaction at a call center is around $8, social media brings it down to about $1.

As a general rule, you should aim to respond to all social media mentions and comments and do so quickly. The way you reply, of course, will differ depending on whether they’re positive or negative comments. Here are five ways to respond to each.

Happy Customers

While it might not seem as urgent to respond to happy customers on social media, taking the time to engage them can go a long way. With an appropriate response, you increase the likelihood that they’ll become return customers and brand advocates.

1. Thank You

The obvious response to receiving a compliment is to say “Thank you.” And that’s exactly what you should do when you receive a positive comment from a customer on social media. “Thank you” should typically be the first thing you say even if you also use some of the other happy customer responses listed below.

While, in a pinch, a simple “Thank you!” should suffice, personalizing your response will go a long way. Even just including their name and tagging them can make a big difference.

2. Share the Comment

When you get a positive comment, sharing it can amplify its impact as well as make the original poster feel appreciated. Their friends will see it, and other social media users will get to see why customers like your brand. The original poster may also be excited that you shared their post, further cementing their connection to your brand.

While a simple retweet is usually fine, you may want to ask permission before sharing some kinds of posts – especially photos and videos.

3. Show Interest in Them

Take the engagement a step further by showing interest in the person making the positive post. Don’t get too personal or do too much digging, as this can come off as creepy. Mentioning something they directly told you or something that’s prominent on their profiles, though, can encourage engagement and make them feel appreciated.

For example, if your company sells all-natural dog treats, and a customer posts a picture of their dog and tags you, compliment them on their dog. If you sell professional clothing and someone says their new suit helped them land the job they just interviewed for, congratulate them.

4. Ask a Question

Social media is a great way to learn about your customers and what they like about your products or services. You can learn a lot just from browsing posts, reviews and comments. If someone posts positive feedback, you can take the opportunity to learn a little bit more about why they liked the product.

While you don’t want to ask for too much of their time, a simple question to clarify what pleased them so much can help you make sure you keep doing that in future.

5. Like or Favorite

While a personal reply is always better, if you’re short on time, a like or a favorite is better than no response at all. While it doesn’t encourage further interaction, it does at least show the customer you saw and appreciated their comment. That may make them more likely to make a similar post in the future when you may have more time to interact.

Upset Customers

Customers who are upset and post negative comments on social media require a different, more careful response. Here are five ways in which to respond to these types of posts.

1. Apologize

For most negative online comments, an apology is the appropriate initial response. If a customer was unsatisfied with your product, service or customer service, a simple apology could start to make amends.

In many cases, you’ll want to take the conservation further than just, “We’re sorry.” In some rare cases, such as when a customer is attacking your company values, you may not want to apologize for your actions — more on that later.

2. Start a Private Chat

It might be possible to handle simple complaints and misunderstandings with a quick public reply. Other more complex or sensitive issues may require that you deal with them over private message. Even for more straightforward problems, going above and beyond by offering to help via private message can help “wow” the customer.

Even if you decide to start a private chat, you should still reply publicly. In your public reply, briefly apologize and then mention you started a private conversation or ask the customer to begin one with you if need be. That will help if the customer did not see the private message and also helps let other users know that you’re handling the problem, not ignoring it.

3. Take a Moral Stance

In most cases, you will apologize and offer to solve the problem. In some rare cases, though, you should stand your ground. These instances include those in which a customer complains about something related to your company values.

For example, when American Airlines changed its Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag for LGBT pride month, one customer asked for an explanation. The airline responded that it was in honor of pride month, to which the customer expressed disappointment. American responded with a simple, “We’re sorry for your disappointment.” American Airlines stuck to their values without antagonizing the poster.

In situations such as this, it’s best to tactfully defend yourself. While you might lose a few fans, you’ll keep your core followers who agree with your company values.

4. Respond No More Than Twice

While you should always respond initially, there comes a time when it’s best to let a complaint go. If you encounter resistance upon your initial attempt to solve the problem, try one more time. If the customer still will not let you help them, in most cases, there’s no need to respond a second time.

In this situation, continuing to argue makes your brand appear petty and unprofessional. If a customer is angry enough that they won’t accept your help, there is, unfortunately, nothing you can do.

5. Don’t Delete

It can seem tempting for companies to delete negative comments. If you addressed them appropriately, however, leaving them up can be advantageous. A helpful public reply shows visitors you take customer support seriously. People may be suspicious if your page appears to only have positive comments — it’s unrealistic. However, resolved complaints make your brand feel more real and show that you care about your customers and know how to help them.

In today’s world, social media is an important way in which customers interact with companies. To keep up, you need to know how to respond to both negative and positive comments on social sites.

Your Turn

Do you have any additional tips to share? How do you deal with happy and unhappy customers?


You may also want to readHow To Manage Customer Service Triggers

Don’t Let Constraints Kill Customer Service

Why Great Customer Service is Invaluable In Marketing

The Must-Have’s of a Social Customer Service Platform

Use Social Customer Service To Nurture Your Business

Featured image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo


The following two tabs change content below.
Nathan Sykes enjoys new technologies and the ways in which they can be used to enhance business strategies. Follow him on Twitter to stay up to date with his latest articles.