How to Convert Customer Complaints Into Compliments About Your Business

Originally Published Jun. 28, 2016

There is good social media, and then there is bad social media. Fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s learned a lesson when it tried to boost its social media presence with the Twitter hashtag #McDStories. Management was looking for inspiring and fun stories, but instead they received complaints, criticism, and bashing.

What’s in Your Social Media?

Specializing in helping companies manage their social media presence is Andre Kay, the founder and CEO of SociallyBuzz, a Miami-based social media and software firm. The company helped Salsa Fiesta, a local multi-unit restaurant, convert unsatisfied customers into raving fans. It accomplished this by daily monitoring reviews and mentions via social media, and not only responding to complaints, but doing so in a timely manner.

Launched in 2009 to help small businesses grow, Sociallybuzz provides social media management, marketing, fan page management, event online digital marketing, and social media consultation using a “build, engage, and grow” methodology. He bootstrapped Sociallybuzz from a small social media “do it for you” company, to a social media agency and software company. The company grew from nothing to $2 million over four years without any outside investments.

A graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program, Kay has successfully built productive relationships with management, senior executives, and key decision makers of the nightlife, restaurant, and franchise industry. Clients include small and big businesses, such as BE 100s Industrial/Services list company Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill. SociallyBuzz helped the franchise strategically pursue deeper engagement with all of its valued customers who were active on social media platforms.

Converting Complaints to Compliments

It doesn’t matter the customer is rude or right, the Internet has given consumers more power to talk about their experiences with a business via online review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. “The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is not responding quick enough to customer complaints,” notes Kay, a BE Modern Man and 2015 Techpreneur of the Year finalist.

Remember, one bad experience shared on a review site could potentially be seen by hundredsif not thousands–of people. The same can be said about social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. So, it’s just not the handling of customer service that is important, it’s how promptly you respond to customers as well. Customers demand a speedy response.

Need more convincing? According to digital marketing advisors, Convince & Convert, 42% customers who have a complaint on social media expect a response within 60 minutes, while 32% expect a response in 30 minutes. What’s more, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as they do during normal business hours.

“If you aren’t equipped to handle the questions or concerns from customers, then social media can be harmful to your business,” says Kay. “Always make sure that you’re helping–and not attacking–customers and that you respond in a timely manner,” he adds.