Responding effectively how to use social media in handling complaints

I was recently asked to present at infoline’s 14th Annual Customer Complaints Conference and share some considerations when looking to handle customer service and complaints through social media.  A lot of people have asked for a copy of the slide deck – so as you asked, here it is:


DHL delivers millions of packages a day and handles more than 1 million customer contacts per hour so keeping tabs on what is being said about the brand on social media, and how its employees interact with customers on social media platforms, is a major challenge. Yet, meeting this challenge is growing in importance because, when things go wrong, customers are increasingly likely to resort to social media to vent their frustration.. DH Lhas opted for a “hub and spoke” approach, with a social media team based at company headquarters in Bonn, Germany whose purpose is to support, advise and instill best practice in international business units and relevant business functions, such as marketing and customer service.


Integration – Risk

Brand and Reputation Risk: Social media does not exist in a Silo, it should be amplifying what you’re already doing. Transparency and authenticity are key. All firms go through a cultural shift when becoming social, internal communications and collaborations are a natural part of this process, build this into your strategy to minimise risk.

Not being on social doesn’t mitigate your risks. Just have to remember NatWest/RBS a couple of years ago when their software went down.

Legal & Regulatory Risk your social media policy, training, implementation and tools are all key in managing these risks. Most importantly firms who are unable to have an involved and proactive relationship with their compliance department struggle to make any impact with their social media.

Information Security Risk

Information security risk covers unintended leaks of sensitive data, due to account hijacking and subsequent misuse.

Integration: Social Maturity of your Business

Hootsuite (Social Media Management Tool) defined the various stages of social media maturity as follows:

  1. Social Teams – as more individuals support the social advocate a social team emerges, typically they are departmentally focused and often emerge is silos.
  2. Social Business – once your social teams have spread so you have a number of teams operating in separate departments you’re on your way to becoming a social business
  3. Social Enterprise – operating across cultures, good governing policy for your social engagement that empowers your teams to engage directly with your audience, clients, prospects alike. Collaboration across the departments and social media and digital are infused across the board.


April 2010 volcanic ash cloud also had their baptism of fire when flights were affected for 6 days. KLM did not revert to its previous social media presence, which had mainly centered around basic conversations and early social marketing activities. KLM now has a social media hub of over 50 people dedicated to delivering a valuable social experience via Twitter, Facebook and blogs, operating 24/7. Their aim is to respond to all relevant queries within one hour and find a solution where necessary within 24 hours — although average response and resolution times are actually much faster.

So the best response is to track conversations as closely as possible and be present on the relevant platforms to provide the necessary responses as quickly and transparently as possible.



Barclaycard was one of the first credit card issuer to establish a social media presence in 2009. As an early adopter, the volume of customer service issues Barclaycard received were minimal, all of which could be handled by the PR and Marketing Team. Barclaycard now has a team of 30 agents who specifically handle all social customer service issues.

Barclaycard chose their tools carefully to help them manage their social media activity.  In this instance they chose Conversocial.  Having the ability to view the complete conversation history with a customer is vital for Barclaycard.

Not only is Barclaycard able to process the incoming messages more efficiently, Barclaycard can also see whether the conversation has been picked up by another agent. Internal notes can also be left on assigned messages to better explain individual customer issues. Full visibility of customer messages means conversations are more fluid, and Barclaycard is able to provide a more personal service – going above and beyond what is expected on social media.

Measuring and Montioring

Remember: to track conversations as closely as possible and be present on the relevant platforms to provide the necessary responses as quickly and transparently as possible.

Reporting, both historically and in real time: keeping an eye on themes as they happen can help management resource appropriately. Perhaps more importantly, looking at previous trends can help managers get ahead of the curve in terms of staffing and expertise.


Depending on the social maturity of your firm, quite often you’ll find that a number of tools have already been adopted and it might mean it’s a case of using the existing functionality, adding on extra or using new software depending on it’s ability to be fit for purpose.


If you’d like any help on how to assess the best tools for your purpose, do get in touch.

Gregarious, happy, problem solving, natural connector who once was told she could “Network in a Graveyard” and is still unsure about the comment. Previously an IFA herself and immersed in social media Bridget shares with advisers, planners, brokers and providers how to get the most out of social media and attract new clients.


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