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Glasgow Business . 45 BIG TALKS Suzanne Fairbairn Senior Digital Account Manager at The BIG Partnership

Are your customers being served?

» Better manage your business’ reputation in an age of rising scrutiny T

he customer is always right, so we have been told, and I can’t help but think that this is a turn of phrase that has been amplified thanks

to social media. With Facebook and Twiter being as

prevalent as they are, it’s now that bit more important for businesses to get it right. As consumers, we demand good customer

service, and quite rightly so, especially nowadays with most of us feeling the pinch. We have somehow come to expect service providers to go that extra mile for us when we decide to part with our hard earned cash. A smile, polite manners, and even empathy

when required, can go a long way. It cements what becomes the customer experience and determines what comments we pass on to others. Unlike before, feedback is no longer

received via an anonymous suggestions box, and word of mouth is no longer about telling just a few friends and family members. If we don’t like something, or feel hard

done by in some way, we aren’t afraid to share it with our Facebook friends, Twiter followers, and even complete strangers on a public forum. I do it myself. I’m a great believer in giving

credit where credit is due, and, by the same token, I’m not afraid to voice a complaint either. It turns out I’m not alone. If you are among one of Mark Zuckerberg’s

one billion plus Facebook users, I’m sure you have come across the increasing numbers of consumers that are using the platform to publicly vent their frustration and post a complaint directly onto a company’s Facebook pages. Tese can be personal woes, strong

opinions or just blatant vile rants which, in some cases, are racking up hundreds of thousands of ‘Likes’ for us all to see, which is a cause of concern for businesses. Every ‘Like’, comment or share on the

negative post proliferates the ‘opportunity to see’ among Facebook users, thus making the complaint spread like wild fire – which the company has to atempt to fight. Brands have to acknowledge it and respond

– fast. Te public nature of the complaint means that it must be firmly nipped in the bud to avoid any repercussions and reputational damage. Tis can be managed however, and managed well. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Be human Unless you have recruited robots to manage your social media channels, there’s no point pretending that you have. I’m stating the obvious here but we’re all human aſter all, and it doesn’t hurt to add a personal touch, empathise with the customer, and respond to their query in a way that suits them.

2. Mirror language

When customer queries come in on Facebook and Twiter, remember that you have access to their profile information. Review their profile picture to gain a sense of their age, interests and lifestyle before draſting your response. Remember, it’s not a ‘one response fits all’ and should be tailored to mirror their tone of voice.

3. Add some humour

Given certain circumstances, don’t be afraid to drop the corporate language and inject some humour into your posts. It’s one way to help get noticed in a noisy Twiter feed and it’s something that followers will re-tweet and share.

4. Solve the problem

When a customer complains on social media, it must be treated like any other query, and it must be resolved. It may require an investigation; it may have to be escalated to the appropriate team; or it may have to be taken offline, but either way, it must be resolved.


For more information on The BIG Partnership, visit

“The public nature of the

complaint means that it must be firmly nipped in the bud to avoid any repercussions and reputational damage”

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