If you own a B2C ecommerce business, you’re probably on Twitter. Unfortunately, it goes without saying that if your business has any kind of social presence, you may need to deal with irate customers in a very public forum from time to time. We all love hearing from happy customers, but dealing with scorned customers is never a pleasant task.

Dissatisfied customers can complain about all sorts via social media, and some of their concerns may take you by surprise…


Sadly, there are no official ‘rules’ to tell you how to respond to these types of complaints (particularly in the event that an unsuspecting customer is locked inside your store). However, from looking at some very ‘high profile’ cases of customer service on Twitter, you can soon compile a list of do’s and don’ts…

Always respond personally

Addressing the customer by name is so important. If you have room, you should also sign off with your name (or initials, at least). This makes your reply feel much more personal and individual to that particular complaint. Sainsbury’s does this perfectly:


In the same breath, don’t use scripted or canned responses. Don’t even think about it.

Think multilingual

If you ship abroad, it’s good to have the ability to deal with complaints from foreign customers who may not speak English. Pull and Bear reply to tweets in multiple languages, which is excellent.


Easyjet, on the other hand, are rather unhelpful:


Understandably, not every business has the resources to offer multilingual customer services, but Easyjet could’ve at least provided the customer with a link to the French customer services page!

Highlight your services and hours

If your business is big enough, having a dedicated customer service account with set hours could be beneficial. If not, it’s still a good idea to make your operating hours clear in your Twitter bio.

Make it obvious that you’re available to help, and when customers can expect a reply from you. Made.com have launched a Twitter account solely for customer service – @MadeToHelp, which highlights working hours. Their official Twitter account links to the customer service account in the bio. Nice work.

Be Consistent

Don’t give conflicting advice to different customers! Here’s a bit of a gaffe from Carphone Warehouse:


They tweeted two customers within minutes of each other, telling one to call customer services, then telling the other that they’re experiencing high call volumes! Keep your answers consistent and don’t give conflicting advice.

Fix In-Channel

Your customer is already annoyed and unhappy, don’t make them go through the extra hassle of calling customer services or sending an email. Resolving a complaint via social media also means that potential customers will see how helpful you are towards customers who have a problem.

When possible, solve the complaint on Twitter, instead of moving the customer to another channel. Ocado are great at directly responding to complaints via Twitter, without any extra hassle:


As an ecommerce business, it’s inevitable that you’ll have the odd unhappy customer. Whether it’s a delivery problem or a quality issue, there’s always something that can go wrong. How you deal with this is important, and even more so via social media where it’s likely that potential customers may see the exchanges. By following some of the advice listed here, and using some good old fashioned common sense, customer service on Twitter might not be so much of a headache after all!

Posted in Social Media on 17th Oct 2014