Over the last few years, many brands have seen a shift from handling customer complaints in-person or over-the-phone to responding to them on social media. The dynamic of handling customer complaints on a public forum can create its own challenges, but many businesses have found ways to use this to their advantage. By knowing how and when to use humor in responding to complaints on social media, you can not only resolve issues, but boost your brand popularity in the process.
Wendy’s: Notorious for Humor on Social Media
Wendy’s is a prime example of a company that’s known for using humor and wit in their social media posts—particularly on Twitter. Perhaps their most popular exchange was in early 2017, when a Twitter user accused Wendy’s of using frozen beef. The hilarious exchange brought the Wendy’s Twitter account into the global spotlight and drastically increased their social media following in the process. Ever since, Wendy’s social media has been lauded for its witty and humorous responses.
Benefits of Using a Little Humor
There are countless benefits to using humor when responding to customer complaints on social media. One of the biggest advantages is that doing so can help your brand save face and lighten the mood, especially in situations where the customer is being blatantly rude and is clearly wrong. It’s also advantageous in situation where the customer is right. It’s better to have people laughing with your brand rather than at troll, and keeping it playful is a good way to show your followers that you’re not being defensive about a frivolous or offensive complaint.
Of course, humor in social media can also give your brand a bit of personality, which is almost always a good thing because it will help your brand stand out from the rest of its competitors. By avoiding the default social media response to complaints that you’ve likely seen from other brands (e.g. “We’re so sorry to hear this! Please send us a private message so we can address the situation.”), you can actually use social media to create an interactive chain of engagement that boosts your reputation and earns you more followers in the process. Here are a handful of examples of humorous responses:
When Not to Use Humor on Social Media
The examples above either poke fun at themselves (like Official smart USA) or gently poke fun at the customer without being too offensive. The last example involving Cleveland Stadium probably takes things a step too far, but you decide what’s right for your brand. The key to using humor on social media is knowing when it’s appropriate versus when it could actually hurt your reputation, or make your brand look like it doesn’t care for customer concerns.
Consider, for example what not do – London Luton Airport made the mistake of joking about a fatal 2005 plane crash in Chicago. Understandably, social media users responded harshly to the brand’s insensitive attempt at humor, and they eventually removed the post and made a public apology. Their reputation has suffered since. Any time there’s a risk of seriously offending a wide audience with an attempt at humor, it’s best to play it safe and skip the joke (ESPECIALLY when it comes to tragedy, there is no fun in that).
Incorporating a little wit and humor when handling customer complaints on a public forum, such as a social media platform, can be a great way to make your brand stand out and boost your customer service reputation. Looking for more guidance with your social media strategy? Contact red balloon social media today!