A common refrain here at Consumerist that we try to promote is “kill’em with kindness.” Shouting, writing angry emails in all caps and generally freaking out at customer service representatives are all tactics guaranteed to make your quest for a positive resolution a lot harder. And as one company’s social media rep writes in to explain to Consumerist, often complaining customers aren’t doing anything to help her help them.
Consumerist reader H. has been put in charge of answering questions and comments on Twitter for the photography equipment company she works for, a job she’s had o take on her simply because she works in the Web department. Although social media is not necessarily her forte, she writes that she’s doing her very best to help address complaints from customers.
She says it’s frustrating because when she does try to help, customers often don’t give her enough to work with and solve the problem. H. wants to help educate customers so that her job is easier and so customers can get the help they need.
Most often (including one today) I get complaints on Twitter that look like this, “My stuff is broken and you should fix it. You suck.” I understand how having a defective product would be frustrating, but people almost never tell us which product it is they have, or how we can contact them to fix it.
People think that if they publicly complain, they will get their stuff fixed faster, but I would guess that most companies don’t have staff that are solely dedicated to answering Facebook or Twitter comments. I get to it when I can (always within a few hours) but the whole process would be faster if people would go ahead and make their public complaints, but then send a direct message with their contact info.
She adds that those people with legitimate complaints are probably going to get helped more often than those who simply complain on social media in order to get free stuff.
“I’m happy to help anyone with a legit claim and try to convince customer service to compensate customers accordingly for their frustration, but if you misused your product and broke it yourself, why should you get a free $200 product just for whining?” she writes.
The best way to help yourself, she explains, is to provide the contact information necessary for someone to help you with your complaint, and “don’t demand free manicures for life just because you sat on your emery board and broke it.”
You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it a bajillion times more.