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5 Best Practices to Managing Customer Service Issues

No matter how good your customer service plan is, nothing happens exactly the way it’s supposed to. Customers will judge your company for service failures, large and small, from bugs in your software to responses not answered within five minutes. But you can seize these opportunities — how you handle managing customer service issues and conversations is what counts.

Monitor customer service issues as they emerge

  • Use social channels as “listening posts” (create private lists on Twitter, save search terms for industry keywords, hashtags and company mentions)

  • When a customer reaches out for help, you should respond on the same channel quickly and transparently

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Handle issues as they arise to prevent a potential crisis

  • If there’s a server error, post regular updates on the status page of the company’s website

  • Let people know you are working on the problem

  • As you figure things out, share the results

  • If a customer is complaining online, community teams should be aware of who they are and why they’re upset

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Respond quickly and accurately

  • Make a rule to keep response times under “X” minutes (one-fourth of customers who complain via social media expect a reply within an hour)

  • When someone has an issue, send an @mention or reply asking them how you can help

  • If it’s a bigger issue, ask customers to contact you via phone or email so you can better understand what happened and solve the problem in a reasonable amount of time

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Be truthful and transparent

  • Figure out who the the customer is and why he or she is upset (check their Twitter or Facebook bio for their name and company)

  • Reach out to the person to gain a greater insight into their concerns

  • When you get a complaint, don’t avoid handling it. When you do wrong, apologize and make it right

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Make follow-ups systematic

  • Always follow up — on social channels for smaller issues, through phone calls and emails for larger ones — to make sure the disgruntled got what they needed

  • Welcome advice and constructive criticism and collect it for reporting

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Sometimes customers complain because they care. They want something to work and are disappointed that it didn’t. It’s your responsibility to fix the problem. How you communicate with your customers, how you accept responsibility, and how you make things right is what people remember.

Learn more about how to manage customer service issues vs conversations in this free eBook "The Community Manager's Guide to Social Customer Support." 

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