Digital Customer Service: Silent Customer Killer

Customers can and do feedback about your services and products in many different ways and if you are not listening or responding you could be doing a lot of damage to your business.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. – Bill Gates

Figures show that 70% of customer service complaints made on Twitter go unanswered. People aren’t always direct and there are many places they can now go to sing your praises or vent their anger.

  • Tripadvisor
  • Twitter (direct and passive mentions)
  • Facebook posts / page reviews
  • Google + posts / places
  • Yelp
  • Online retailer product reviews – Amazon / Argos etc.
  • Yahoo! local listings
  • Angies List (paid)
  • Foursquare
  • Trustpilot
  • Linkedin

You have to make sure that you are aware of all of the places your business is being spoken about and monitor the feedback. Taking a proactive approach is essential, no more can you just ignore poor reviews about your business.  If you currently are not monitoring this, the good news is that it is simple to get started…

Proactive digital customer service: Are you listening

Make sure you are doing everything you can to actively listen out for on-line customer feedback by registering for and claiming your business name across as many of the sites listed above as possible. But when it comes to social media, you have a little more control than other channels.  By listening you are creating customer service opportunities.

  1. Register and turn on notifications
  2. Claim your business where applicable
  3. Regularly monitor
  4. Set up social listening
  5. Respond quickly and directly

Response time is vital. In years gone by customer expectations of a strongly worded letter to the company may have been up to a month to respond, in recent years, when people send negative feedback they are expecting a response the same day.It is therefore essential that you get the notifications sent to one place to be handled efficiently.

What is Social Listening

People don’t always mention you directly, this is either because they are venting or they have not been able to find your company Twitter handle. You need to make sure you are listening out for this.


customer service tweets

Using your social media software (like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite) you can set up searches with dedicated columns that monitor for your brand name (tip: search for your brand name as one whole word, with spaces and if applicable common misspellings).

When you see new messages make sure that you click into the post to try and establish context. You will be able to see comments and responses that have led to and have followed on from the post.  Context helps you interject appropriately with the correct tone.


Make sure you have some stock responses that can deal with general grievances and possibly tease more information out.  The example below could be used for a negative tweet.

e.g. – “I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience with us, I want to know how we can fix this, please tell me more” 

What you will often find in most cases people are pleasantly surprised with the response and will soon calm down, or at the very least give you more detail for you to attempt to rectify any situation.

Especially with sites like Trip Advisor, you need to address the negative comments.  I have spoken to many people in the restaurant trade who ignore their negative comments and only respond to the positive ones.  This is a dangerous way to handle things. If you truly believe in the quality of your products and services you will have no issue in dealing with the complaint.

The best thing about dealing wit complaints that are public, is that you get to show how quickly and efficiently you deal with issues. Savvy customers look at timestamps to see how quickly business representatives have responded so time is of the essence.

It gives customers a sense of balance when they see some negative reviews, all positive can also be unsettling so do not fear negative feedback.

If you’re not listening for the bad, you will also miss the good.


There are many ways you can recognise positive feedback.  A simple favourite, like, +1, share or re-tweet can be used if you don’t have the time to go any deeper.  I always advise that you respond, thanking them for their feedback, it takes seconds but you are helping reinforce the positive feeling that customer has about your business.

Tip: Share positive and negative customer service feedback internally.UK online retailer Appliances Online encourage delivery teams to get customers to put feedback on social media.  It is in all of the print information they leave behind. This has a two fold positive effect. Customers know about their social media presence and will generally follow them on their chosen platforms. Secondly it increases the likelihood of excellent service form he delivery and installation team.As an added bonus, there is a monthly social media newsletter that goes out to the company with snippets of feedback, positive and negative, increasing accountability.

What if I do nothing?

Google indexes review sites in an attempt to be more useful to people searching.  It is likely that a review site will turn up page one with your company name, so what is on there will affect the decision of new potential customers.

By doing nothing you look digitally inept at best, and ignorant at worst. Doing nothing, not responding to customer service issues is a one way road to a bad reputation.  The unfortunate thing about digital customer service is that there is a permanent record of it.

You simply cannot afford to do nothing these days.