Read this article to learn more about how an online community manager can help you with your next customer service issue. 

We’ve all been there. Something went awry with your favorite brand and you turn to social media to let them know where they went wrong. I’ve been on both sides of this equation, as an unsatisfied customer and an online community manager. My experience has helped me meet acceptable resolutions and I’m proud to say that no one was injured in the interactions.

Since I’ve seen the good, bad and downright UGLY of both sides, I’m going to share some insider secrets you can use to make your next customer service experience end on a high note. Here are my tips so that consumers get the help they need, and customer service agents can sleep peacefully at night.

1. You aren’t typing to a decision-maker. You may have been shorted at your favorite store, but the person you are frantically typing to about the situation is not a decision-maker. The online community manager you are chatting with may not even work directly for the brand. Many companies, large and small, hire social media departments and customer care departments to community manage their social media platforms. They most likely aren’t the person you’re upset with and they may not be in the same region as the company or use the same software to track and respond to your complaint or comments.

For example, I was recently a social media community manager for a brand that is about 1,000 miles away from Winston-Salem. In such situations, remote agents aren’t trying to keep you from a resolution. They are probably trained to ask a specific group of questions so that they can direct you to the right person to help you. Work with them and provide any information they need, no matter how invasive their questions might seem. It will help you in the end.

2. Yes, they do need to know ALL of that info about you. As much as we would like to believe that the internet knows everything, it doesn’t – and neither does the online community manager you’re typing to on Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s another example from my work for the client I mentioned earlier. The brand has hundreds of locations across several states, so I often had to ask customers for the cities they lived in when they referenced locations merely by street names. Now, some of those people were angry that I didn’t already know their locations, but when street names are repeated in cities throughout a region, things can get confusing. I needed to pinpoint the place where a problem occurred or where to send a refund.

In other words, yes, repeat the whole address to the person who you are speaking with so that he or she has a full record of your issue.  Give them all of the information that they request. You may have to do this more than once. It’s part of the process. We won’t be sharing that info with the whole world, just to the people that can make a difference for you.

3. You are speaking with a person. Some conversations may start with a robot, but most likely the person on the other side of your screen is just like you – a human being. If the issue you have is troubling, take a deep breath first. Remember that the person that you are speaking with was not there when you were wronged, and his or her job is to help you. The best way to make that happen is for you to share all the details in a calm manner. If it helps, try imagining yourself in your customer care rep’s shoes.

Remember, people are in place to assist you when something isn’t right with your favorite brand, store or restaurant.

And for those of you who assist people with customer service complaints, take a deep breath. Remember that the person you’re chatting with is distressed, and don’t take it personally. They probably haven’t read this blog post yet.

Need help with customer care for online communities? Vela Agency can offer insight and strategies, or even manage them for you. Contact us today to learn more.