Today we have a guest post from Sheena Murphy. Sheena has over 5 years experience in Customer Service and Social Media. Having worked previously in telecommunications, she is passionate about mobile technology and gadgetry in general. Also interested in gaming and hiking, you can find her in front of a screen or on top of mountain; often both at the same time. Follow Sheena on Twitter – @xgwishyx.

How to Effectively Speak to Companies on Social Media – an Agent’s Perspective

Karl Pilkington said it best when he said “Have a moan, it’s good for ya. Release it at that moment, get it out.” And nothing helps facilitate this more than Social Media.

RedC predicts 71% of the Irish population will be using smartphones by the end of this year. With Facebook, Twitter, blogs and forums at our fingertips, the so-called “keyboard warriors” can make and break brands. However being loudest is not the key to an effective customer service experience.

I’ve worked in Customer Service and Social Media for many years so from my side of the keyboard, here are my top tips for getting your point across on Social Media.


1. Don’t Give A F**k

Seriously, no curse words. If you go in guns blazing, cursing and blinding the agent on the other side is guaranteed to dislike you. Remember that you’re talking to a human representative of the company, who has a long queue of complaints and queries to get through, and you will be put on the long finger. Okay, that may not be fair, but if you were to walk into a shop and say the same thing do you think the assistant would take a liking to you? Of course not! By being calm and explaining your query clearly, the agent (and other readers) will empathise with you and will appreciate your approach, leading to a quick and simple resolution, that benefits everyone involved.

So stay calm, express your distress in a rational way and then sit back and wait. Which leads me to point number 2….

2. Nobody Likes a Troll

Resist the urge to go for the CTRL C+V combo attack. Multiple tweets simply stating negative comments without any actual questions or requests for help also fall into this category. When sending your query to a company on Facebook post once on their wall or send a private message if their wall is off. Commenting a complaint on an unrelated public post is unlikely to be seen, unlikely to be responded to and it’s just plain rude. Worse still is posting the same comment over and over on every post on their page, that type of spamming will get you a lifetime ban quicker than you can threaten a call to Joe Duffy. The majority of companies have a policy in place that means that every tweet or post is responded to, so you will get an answer, but you may have to wait for up to 24 hours. If you need an urgent response it’s best to call their contact centre or go to a store, otherwise give it some time.



3. You’re threatening to go to the Media? You already are in the Media.

Social Media is a public and often unmoderated space. If you have voiced a complaint online and for some reason have not received the resolution you expected, or if your peers are siding with the brand, then guess what. You’re probably wrong. Threatening to go to Joe Duffy, or another social media site will get you nowhere and reduces your complaint to petty ranting. It also runs the risk of causing your query to be escalated to a manager or PR team, which means your query will take longer to resolve, and probably will result in the same answer anyway. Take a breath, go private and request further information if available, or a reasonable compromise. Be prepared, you may not get the answer you want. When you take the complaint to a public space you are putting your complaint to a jury of your peers. And their decision is final.



4. Cross platform complaints

If you post on Twitter, Facebook and a forum you’re likely to be talking to the same person or team on all three, so do us all a favour and cut our workload by going to one platform, and sticking with it! Add to the mix calls, emails and queries in person and yes, you may receive conflicting information. It’s unavoidable as everyone in the company will be trying to help you in their own way (if you followed the above rules of course) and some will have more power or leeway than others. On top of that you have personal experience, better training in some areas, or simply a nicer person, so not every resolution will be the same. If you feel your resolution could be improved upon go private to suggest an alternative, there often are some resolutions than cannot be offered publicly.

Frustrated office work at his desk


5. If your experience was fantastic and you’re happy – TELL PEOPLE!

The wonderful thing about working in social media is that you get to see the fruits of your labour. You help brilliant like-minded people and they come back to say thank you and let you know how they got on. Building a community based on mutual respect filled with people who have appreciated your help, and in turn pass it onto others, is extremely rewarding. The flip-side is that it can be soul crushing to spend hours, days, weeks on a difficult query to give a resolution above and beyond the expectation and then……….nothing. No reply, no update from the customer. Us agents love to hear follow up from the people we’ve helped, even if your issue has recurred, but especially if it has worked out well. It helps us to improve our processes for future queries, and expands our community of like-minded individuals.

Hopefully this article has helped you effectively chat to companies online. The key here is that you’re speaking to a human, a human hired to help you and protect the brand. Nobody benefits from an unhappy customer! So be confident, be polite, know what you expect and be prepared to negotiate. And above all, be safe, keep personal details to a private message and use social media responsibly.



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