The goal of this blog is to engage, inform, and develop an overall understanding of social communication. Period. I just happen to use my personal experience to create content that will drive conversation. That being said… my negative customer service post from earlier this week has been generating large amounts of buzz both online and offline.I understand that I can be a little harsh so I wanted to end the week by being more constructive to help businesses navigate negative commentary generated from social media.

What can we learn from the situation? What problems arise from negative online reviews/complaints and what are the solutions.


Problem 1: Not Monitoring Online Chatter

There were multiple posts and reviews about the lunch problem and the company had not responded using the same vehicle of communication (social). When users are searching for information pertaining to a company it is important that they read a company response from an old complaint whether Twitter, Google Reviews, Foursquare, or Facebook.

Solution – Google Alerts and tools like Tweetdeck allow for companies/individuals to easily monitor social feeds from Facebook to Twitter. Listening is the easiest thing to do in the online environment and it is extremely important to the success of an online strategy. You do not want to NOT know that a blog post, review, tweet, or Facebook post was generated

Problem 2 : No Formal Customer Service Training From Corporate

The local manager does a great job with taking care of customers when they complain in person. I know that for a fact. However, what happens when a consumer doesn’t have the time and calls the first number they find to complain? What happens when the consumer is Internet inclined?

Solution – Training and stressing the overall importance of customer communication is key in this situation. Upper management should be communicating the importance of all customers whether online or offline. Company training goes a long way in reducing the stress caused by a customer complaining about a situation. It is imperative that every employee understands that the customer is in control of the situation.

Problem 3 : Lack of Updated Contact Form on Website

This pertains to fear more than anything else. When a company website is behind on the times and not updating frequently you may have an issue with people trying to contact you, viewing the website on their mobile device, or just finding the website in general.

Solution- When searching for an email or number to call it is important that the website be compatible to the online environment. It also helps to use an email contact form to give consumers the options to email the company directly instead of just a phone number. Give the consumer an email form and allow them to pick the location they want to email. WordPress is a great tool to use to update your website cheaply and efficiently. 

Problem 4 – 70% of Companies Ignore Customer Service Complaints on Twitter

Jay Baer pointed out late last year that 70% of companies ignore complaints on Twitter. Crazy right?

Solution- Jay also found that 83% of the complainants that received a reply liked or loved the fact that the company responded. They saved the consumer from breaking-up with the brand entirely. If you chose to not fix the situation it is up to the consumer to draw an overall conclusion. Maybe the brand doesn’t care about all customers?

Problem 5 – Ignoring the Power of  The Growing Customer Network

In this age of social media companies no longer have the luxury of a complaint being heard by 10 people and then disappearing. For example – the blog post that I wrote on Monday received: +2500 unique views, +350 tweets, +25 comments on FB,  and +5 new interactions on Foursquare. The truth? We know it will blow over but it will not disappear.

Solution – Use negative experiences to bond and network with consumers to turn the experience into something positive. Contact the person directly, win them over, and then use them as an advocate to build your brand online. Your customer has a much stronger voice and can use it for your benefit.


It is imperative that companies realize that your customer is changing. It is no longer a matter of great customer service in-store. It matters that customer service and the brand extends far beyond the brick and glass.

“What I do care about is that you conclude that your company needs to change the way you deal with the customer now, because the customer has already changed the way they deal with you.” – Paul Greenburg