How NOT to Treat Your Customers on Facebook: 5 Takeaways
Posted by Stacey Miller
I didn’t think it had to be said that this is not the way to treat your customers on Facebook, no matter how awful their complaints might be. A similar example of a brand blow up was featured in Scott Stratten‘s Unmarketing book (a very good read, if you haven’t picked it up already): a customer who complained on a BBQ brand’s Facebook page was met with a backlash of profanity and insults. No bueno.
What should have happened:
2) Pigalle Boston should have apologized profusely for her negative experience, because that’s just what you do. The customer is always right, even if they aren’t. Apologizing and vowing to make it right (sincerely) publicly show your other customers and prospects that you care. Being profane to this customer didn’t just affect one – it affected everyone watching on the Facebook page. I guarantee several people who currently shop there and saw this exchange will never return, and people considering going there who saw this exchange will never return. I’m not in even in Boston, but the name of this place is forever negatively ingrained in my memory.
3) Take it offline. Fighting your bloody battles in public is not correct etiquette for a brand. Pigalle could have given her their number earlier in the conversation, asked for her number, or found her address in the whitepages and shown up at her door with an apology. Going above and beyond is necessary in a case such as this.
4) Don’t delete comments. It’s apparent in the beginning of the thread that the brand posted unsavory comments and then deleted them. If you’re going to say something on social, own up to it, don’t hide. This causes a serious loss of credibility in the eyes of the customer.
5) Remember to keep your cool. Though the customers comments were absolutely inappropriate and infuriating, it’s important to remember where they are coming from. It’s hard to not take comments like that personally. But you have to go at it like a problem solver – just because those comments were made, don’t mean that the issues couldn’t be solved. At least trying will make you a better brand, to yourself as well as to your customers and prospects. Her irrational side would become clearer to those viewing the conversation and your customers would likely end up defending you, instead of turning their backs on your business.
A harsh lesson learned.
UPDATE: Eater.com’s take on the incident with some screenshots I missed.