Social media provides many new and interesting avenues for field service organizations to communicate with customers. We encourage interaction with customers for personal engagement and continuous marketing opportunities. But what do you do when a customer posts a negative message about your field service organization or a specific field service rep on social media for all to see?

Here are 5 steps for you to take to minimize social media damage:

1. Closely monitor social media sites:

You have to be aware that there is a problem in order to assess and address it quickly. It is important to be observant 24/7. For some smaller companies the best way to do this may be by using free monitoring tools such as Social Mention, Pin Alerts or Google Alerts to name a few. These tools will alert you when a posting is made so you can review it as soon as possible. If you need a more thorough approach for monitoring your brand’s online reputation, there are social media monitoring consultants with tools to monitor and track business mentioned across the web. These consultants will alert you to opportunities and problems. You should also personally review your sites regularly to catch any trends or complaints that require action over time. Comments such as, “I hate your phone tree when I call the 800 number” or “It took 2 days before anyone called me back” require your attention and action.

2. Acknowledge and respond quickly:

Communication is a key factor, many times people post a negative comment because they feel their concerns are not being heard. Speed is critical here. Acknowledge the complaint before it escalates and spreads to other customers. Empathize with the customer, apologize if appropriate and promise to try to fix the problem. That will be enough to begin engaging with the customer and then take action to get the customer back up and running as soon as possible.

3. Reply across social media channels:

The situation may not be contained to just one social media medium. Negative comments can spread from Twitter to Facebook and others very

quickly. Respond quickly via social media. Don’t just use a press release, as this tactic is often not well received in social media circles, and many people will never see it.

4. Take it out of the spotlight:

Once you have acknowledged the problem and promise to try to fix it, offer to resolve the issue with the customer via phone or email. Remember, field service isn’t just about sending a tech to fix the problem. It is also about taking the time to listen to your customer.

5. Develop a Crisis Plan:

It is especially important that you are prepared for something bad to happen, because eventually it will.

  • Have a team in place to assess the situation quickly
  • Use your monitoring software to monitor, track and see how the situation is developing across social media
  • Respond quickly and try to resolve with the customer offline – call or email anyone who
  • If other customers are quiet, don’t continue to comment but monitor closely
  • If the situation is escalating, listen carefully to their concerns and respond accordingly

The way you deal with negative messaging about Field Service can create an opportunity to enhance customer loyalty and image. But, if handled poorly, it can quickly spread out of control. Remember to monitor, acknowledge and respond quickly.