Posted by: Melissa De Lyser | November 11, 2013

De Lyser Week 6: Acknowledge or delete?

Social media has provided customers with the means to instantaneously share their complaints not only with companies, but with other customers/potential customers.  The level of transparency that companies demonstrate when dealing with online complaints varies. So, I imagine, does customer response.

I once posted a complaint on Starbuck’s Facebook page.  A company reps commented on my post within an hour, asking me to call them.  While I was on the phone with her, the customer service rep deleted my Facebook complaint and her response. She sent me coupons for free lattes, and retained my business.

Frame Central handled it differently.  I posted a complaint about the horrible customer service I had received at their Beaverton location.  A company rep asked me to contact them and gave me a $100 gift certificate. She then responded to my original Facebook post, explaining what she had done to make up for my unpleasant experience (the gift certificate), explained the company’s customer service policy and that steps would be taken to ensure the problem did not persist. Frame Central also retained my business.

Bach and Kim’s consumer complaint study substantiates that companies are using social media to better address customer complaints and to foster dialogue with those customers.  There are different ways to approach this.  Assuming issues are resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, is it best to delete the complaint/discussion so that other consumers don’t identify a problem?  Or is it better to leave the complaint with explanations and remedies?

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