This is going to be a very short post, however it contains a piece of advice that I feel any brand/organisation etc that communicates with customers via social media should take on board…

I’m often asked how best to deal with a public complaint, usually with Twitter and an ‘@’ message as the context. Let me break down my typical response:

1 – You need to (quickly!) respond, apologise and give the complainer the opportunity to give you further info. This may well take place in a number of public tweets, and you have to be ready to communicate that way.

2 – Ideally, you will take the complaint away from the public eye as quickly as possible. On Twitter, this would mean switching to DM (direct message). Remember the need for a mutual follow!

3 – Once in DM, offer the complainer the opportunity to contact you via email or phone, but be prepared to play the conversation out within direct messages.

4 – Once the customer is happy that the issue has been resolved, get back to them via a ‘@’ message telling them that you are glad that you were able to help them and that you look forward to their custom/assisting them in the future.

Sort your business out and maybe people will…


Why should you do this? The primary reason is that it shows onlookers that you’re serious about serving people via social media and offer a high level of customers service. A simple and non time-consuming task that goes a long way to building trust. Remember, with the right treatment, a customer who has had a bad experience can become an advocate for your business.

Bonus tip – If you’ve had a DM conversation with a customer and therefore are following them, don’t unfollow them after the issue has been resolved, it creates a barrier for future communication instigated by the customer.

Do you like this approach? Got a tip to share? Please feel free to comment.

Mike McGrail

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Image used under creative commons and via uncafelitoalasonce on flickr

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