5 Steps To Defuse An Angry Customer On Social Media

customerservicequotebySalondeMariaI finally received my last box from moving from NYC to South Florida. I say "finally" because it has been quite the ordeal. I received a phone call last week that The UPS Store in NYC had my box, which was odd since I sent my box from The UPS Store in NYC to Florida. The woman explained to me that they had tried three times to deliver it, and protocol is to deliver it back to the sender if delivery fails on the third try. Which is ironic, because I, the sender, do not live at The UPS Store in NYC. I asked her when they delivered it in South Florida, because the person I sent it to had no recollection of it, and had received the two others boxes I sent from The UPS Store. She said she couldn't tell me anything because they are franchised, and she had no way to contact the store in Florida and ask them any questions --> WTF.

Furious, I asked the woman to send the box back to Florida. She said she could if I repaid the $70 for shipping. I calmly (at least I hope I was calm ;) ) told her that I would call her back, and then took to Twitter AND Facebook. I have to be pretty pissed off in order to go on two platforms. Within a couple of hours I had a response on both platforms to email a particular address.

Within minutes of emailing, I had a response. First, they said they would look into it. Then, they said there was nothing they could do because they tried to deliver it three times. I asked my friend if she had received any notification that they had tried to deliver three times, and she said she had two BLANK slips on her door over the past month and had no idea what they were for. I quickly responded back to The UPS Store and said that on top of all of this, they didn't even have the right name on my packages. Instead of Marji Sherman, I was Marjoari with some random last name. Within minutes of that email I was told The UPS Store's corporate headquarters were contacted and someone would be in touch with me.

The next day, that someone called me and said that she would write me a $25 check because she could see both sides. She told me technically I should have double-checked the name before I signed my receipt. (FYI- I found my receipt with a tracking number later, and they did not have me sign it, and they didn't write out my name on it.) I said that wasn't going to fly, so then she agreed to have it shipped to where I was for no charge.

Moral of the story--> This is actually a GOOD post. While I am incredibly irritated by The UPS Store and hope that my complaint somewhat cleans up the NYC location, their social media was right on par with handling my complaint. Here's five things to learn from this situation for your own customer service team:

Be timely

Within hours (which is incredible for a huge brand), they replied back to me. This is a MUST for brands that have customer service issues. The quicker you nip a complaint in the butt, the more likely you are to keep the customer from causing an all out firestorm on social media.

Cover ALL of your bases

Just because they replied to my Tweet, they didn't ignore my Facebook post. You can't assume that just because you reply to a customer on one network, you can ignore their posts on your other networks. First, replying to all posts makes the customer feel more valued, and second, it's a smart move by a brand to ensure that other fans on those networks see you are not leaving any post unanswered.

Take the complaint to the right place

They did not mess around and immediately took my complaint to the corporate office for The UPS Store, even though the store itself in NYC told me there was nothing they could do because they're franchised. Instead of being bounced from department to department, the social media customer service reps knew exactly where to send my complaint.

Be patient

I was NOT HAPPY, to put it nicely, yet the social media crew kindly responded to every one of my emails and made sure to keep the ball rolling.

Deliver

By sending me to the right place, I was able to get a complaint on record for The UPS Store in NYC (which corporate assured me is taken very seriously), and I received my package quickly after I sent my initial Tweet.

I've been on the customer service end of social media numerous times, and it's so easy to try to skate by some of the complaints out there. I mean, how many bitchy Tweets can you really deal with everyday? The fact of the matter is, you have to deal with ALL of them--> Not only because you owe it to your consumers, but because you never know which small complaint ignored will ignite that customer service nightmare you often times hear about.

Social media is a powerful tool and consumers KNOW that. They are very much aware that they can easily affect your reputation with a few harsh words and/or photos of defective products. Now, this isn't something that should scare you, but motivate you to activate intense social listening so you can know what your consumers are saying about you and what issues they are having. Some of the feedback from social listening can actually be super helpful in identifying issues with products, fostering new business ideas and cementing relationships with core consumers.

Kudos to The UPS Store social media team for showing us all what it means to be incredible at customer service in an age where the consumer has the majority of the power.

- Marji J. Sherman

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