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Business complaints on social media: do or don't?

Katie Stocking is the owner of Happy Medium LLC.

Recently I was told (anonymously) that I shouldn’t ever put anything negative about any business on my social media. I found that a little strange, but wondered if I use social media because it’s my profession or because of my age and generation. I decided to do a little informal research and heard the following results and opinions:

1)   Try other avenues before social media

In my particular cases that were referenced – both times I was having a problem in dealing with a company. I had tried many different ways to solve it before I went to social media. This seemed to be a general consensus of everyone else I spoke to. By the time they were posting things on Facebook about or to a company they had multiple phone calls, conversations and talks and just felt they were out of options. Businesses have a HUGE opportunity here on the customer service side to “save” a client, especially if social media is usually someone’s last stop before that client is on their way out the door. They might as well do some damage control!

2)   At least you’re standing behind your words

There is sometimes nothing more frustrating than when someone complains, yet they don’t give you their name and information so you can try and make it right. In the case of social media – although you’re complaining, your name is definitely right there with it. I think that is a plus. You’re definitely giving the company a chance to take care of the issue for you.

3)   Be respectful

As with anything in life, you probably catch more flies with honey. Certainly it is “your” Facebook page and yes, you are entitled to post whatever you want. But is that really the best option? I always try to make sure I’m not posting anything on my Facebook that I wouldn’t say to my own mother (mostly since we’re friends on Facebook!). There is always a right way to complain, and swearing, being completely unreasonable, and name calling probably isn’t it. If you need to vent or discuss with a company, make sure you always remember just because it’s a Facebook page doesn’t mean there aren’t humans involved. There is someone responsible for reading that and responding to you, or a person who actually owns the business. Play nice.

4)   Know there could be consequences – good or bad!

For me professionally, I own a business and posting the wrong thing on another business’ page (even if I feel it’s merited and respectfully written) might come off aggressively to other decision makers around me. Someday down the road, that perception could negatively impact my business. Even if you don’t own a business – people just doing business with you could be affected.

For me personally, usually if I’m posting “something about a business,” it’s actually something I’m writing on their page so they are aware of it and then they might fix the problem I’m having – which is definitely a win!

Overall, the general consensus of my research was if you see someone complaining on social media in a respectful way, it’s probably just their way of trying to take care of their business. Professionally, my guess is that we will start to see a lot more of this, so applying the tactics we use when dealing with companies’ call centers and managers when we have a problem is the best way to help get our problem solved!

I’m curious what you think, though, so tweet me @interactivekate and tell me if you use social media as a platform to handle any issues you might have with businesses?



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