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How to combat customer rage on social media
Wednesday, 28 February 2018

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Do you often feel powerless against customers who rant about your brand on social media? If so, then it's time for your contact centre to fight back.

Combat social rage 900

There's a scene at the end of most James Bond movies. The arch-villain has triggered a giant bomb and 007 must deactivate the device. Of course, he succeeds in the nick of time.

But at least Bond was given long enough to save the world and put things right.

In today's world, customer-facing organisations often aren't so fortunate.

Consumer expectations are soaring. They can benchmark each brand by the best experience they've had with other brands ... in a kind of customer service arms race. And when things go wrong, they're often ready to go ballistic on social media.

According to research shared by ICMI[1], today as many as 31% of people will post online after they have had a bad contact centre experience. But what's more shocking is the speed at which they expect a response from organisations.

The clock is ticking

Of those customers who complain on social media, 42% expect a response within an hour, 32% within 30 minutes, and 11% expect the reply to be instant.

To many of us, this may seem unreasonable. Is this simply our on-demand world snapping back if it doesn't get answers instantly? Maybe.

But simply shrugging our shoulders or ranting back isn't an option. It's the world in which live ... not the one we'd prefer. When customer fury explodes on social media, there are serious consequences that go straight to the bottom line, according to the published findings.

Apparently, 30% of people will go to a competitor if a brand doesn't respond, while poor response times can lead to up to a 15% increase in customer churn.

So what's the answer? Here are three ways to remedy problem.

#1: Defuse the fury - in time

When you're working against the clock on social media, you need to spot problems quickly, so you can intervene fast. Every second counts.

A tool like Social Agent lets you see exactly what's happening across your social media profiles like Facebook and Twitter — and then take action before problems go viral. If you want to listen out more widely, then Social Media Monitoring will provide you with real-time business intelligence across social media, news sites, blogs and forums in more in 160 languages.

There's a big upside to speedy intervention, according to the ICMI article. Good customer care on social channels increases customer spend by 20-40%, while companies that deliver the best experience are achieving 92% customer retention.

#2: Get an early-warning system

If things are going wrong within your contact centre, it's good to know so you can take steps before issues boil over. If you don't want customers sounding off on social media, then give them a voice and a place to vent their feelings direct to you.

After Sales Surveys — used with your phone, web and mobile channels — are a good way to tease out whether customers are happy generally or whether problems are starting to surface.

It's also important to avoid dropping the ball if customers contact you with an issue. Having a unified desktop will make sure your agents have everything at their fingertips to resolve issues when people call, while email management tools will make sure you never miss another customer email or respond too slowly.

#3: Avoid triggering problems in the first place

A lot of customer outrage is caused by frustration. It's possible for customers to feel failed by one channel, then the next, then the next — and sense they're getting nowhere fast. Social media becomes their next port of call.

So are your current channels part of the problem?

Badly-behaving interactive voice response (IVR) systems with painfully-long menus can make customers livid. But you can vastly improve their experience with a redesigned and hosted IVR. This can also include super efficient identification & verification and natural language speech recognition commands to replace cumbersome menus. Self-service general enquiries for basic details and visual IVR for all sorts of fiddly information can also help customers to cut through with the minimum fuss.

If people want an instant response, then Chatbots added to your website can provide immediate help at any time of day — but don't forget to let customers select the option to speak to a human if they wish. Web Chat is another popular way for customers to signal for help, while offering Call-Back from your website shows you're willing to prioritise their needs with urgency.

The more you do, the greater the harmony

Each of these measures can enhance customer service significantly. And it's much better to get it right first time ... than having to dampen down customer fireworks later on.

For the bigger picture on these issues, check out our guide to Omnichannel Engagement and discover what may be holding back your customer interactions today. Alternatively, our e-book Is Your IVR Behaving Badly? shows how to stop your IVR from triggering hostility from customers. With some care, you can turn things around dramatically.

If you'd like to know more about customer engagement then give us a call on 08000 630 730 or drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


[1] ICMI, November 2017,'Why Contact Centers Need to Embrace Social Media in 2018'

About the Author

Ross Sampson

Ross Sampson

Digital Transformation Specialist

Ross is a results-driven sales and marketing professional with 35+ years of corporate multi-national offline and online sales and marketing, brand awareness building, communications and business development experience, SEO and Digital Transformation

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