Turning an Angry Customer Into an Opportunity on Social Media

Customer Terrorism on Social Media – Incremental BusinessIncremental Business


It’s not 1995 anymore. The 8-10 rule is out. Instead of telling 8-10 of their closest friends and family about a bad experience with your business, customers are telling their hundreds—even thousands thousands of followers on social media. On top of that, they are probably still telling 8-10 friends and family members. The most important thing to keep in mind is that: finding a disgruntled customer sharing their bad experience is not a crisis, but an opportunity!

I am shocked when I see a disgruntled customer rant on twitter only to find that the company is doing nothing about it. With the customer’s social media megaphone, they can do significant damage to your brand if you don’t step in and harness the opportunity. Customers don’t always expect that the company will respond, but it’s what they want.

1. Listen to what people are saying.

Start listening to your customers. Keep a close eye on your Facebook page and set up tracking for your company via twitter. Don’t just automatically think that every disgruntled customer will bother looking up your twitter handle. Set up a search for your company name in an app like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. If your business is brick and mortar, it is a good idea to start regularly checking review sites such as Yelp as well. When you find an angry customer, respond quickly and get on top of the situation.

2. First thing’s fist: apologize & offer a solution.

When you run into an unhappy customer, apologize and acknowledge their concern. Be empathetic and express your desire to solve their problem. Thanking them for bringing the problem to your attention shows that you really care. Even if they are ill-tempered and vilifying your company, jump in and apologize. Never go on the defensive. Regardless of what they are saying, acknowledge their concern and start to have an honest conversation. Make an honest attempt at mending ties. In some cases this may result in an angry response. This is okay. Let them vent and follow up with them later to see how you can help.

3. Keep it public.

I have read multiple opinions on the topic that state you should make an attempt to take care of the customer through a less public channel. That is a mistake. The damage has already been done. It’s public. Why would you want the solution to be behind closed doors?

While in some cases this is unavoidable ie: “email me your customer id number,” you should keep the interaction in the spotlight as much as possible. Remember, your number one goal is to turn this negative exchange into an opportunity. The best way to do that is to keep your communication on the social media channel. Plus, asking the customer to communicate with you through a different channel is an annoyance. You have already annoyed them, don’t add salt to the wound. You want to delight your customer with a solution they will share!

4. Be Human.

Many times larger companies will use canned messages and automatic responses to handle customers on twitter. Such attempts rarely do any good. Just like customers want to talk to a real person on the phone, they want a “real” person on social media too. Be real. Be human and empathize with the customer. Never offer an emotionally charged response that will hurt your company. Take the high road and keep a level head.

Finding a customer terrorist on social media is your chance to turn them into a loyal fan. Don’t forget, a good social media strategy raises the bar. Show your customers you care. Respond to them quickly and empathize with their situation. If is appropriate for the situation, follow up with them. As always, put the customer first and give them great service. Great customer experiences on social media are golden.

Stephen Willis

According to Bloomberg, 8 of of 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months. As entrepreneurs and small business owners, it is out goal to help our clients rise above these statistics and succeed. With over 30 years of experience organizing and scaling businesses, we have the tools and experience to help your business excel. No matter the size of the project, we are committed to giving our clients the quality service they deserve.

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