April 3, 2018

9 Templates for Responding to Complaints on Your Social Channels

Michelle Greenbaum

Social media is a great tool for creating conversations with your audience—but it also opens a direct line of communication for complaints. These days, it isn’t an option for brands to respond to their customers on social; it’s expected.

To get started, set up your brand’s support account bio to include on-duty hours, a dedicated email address for inquiries, and the languages you support. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to respond. But remember: When it comes to complaints, there are levels of severity, each of which should be handled strategically. Here we’ve broken them down into Green (low-risk), Yellow (moderate-risk), and Red (high-risk).


A “green tier” complaint is something that doesn’t pose an immediate threat to your brand’s customers, employees, or reputation. Always read the room before responding, but replies can typically skew more casual.

1) When something is out of stock...

“You must have great taste! We’ll reach out to our team and see what we can do to get this restocked ASAP.”

2) When technology isn’t working…

“Alrighty, NAME. Let’s work some magic. Have you tried clearing your cookies and cache?”

3) When a product has been discontinued…

“This is such a bummer, NAME, but PRODUCT NAME has been discontinued. 😢 We loved it too, but if you’re up for something new, try OTHER PRODUCT NAME!”


“Yellow tier” complaints should be handled carefully, but can usually be addressed directly in the social feed. If you need to gather private information, reroute the conversation to the DMs.

1) When there’s a quality issue…

“We agree, NAME, that doesn’t look right at all. Let us see what we can do.”

2) When an order is wrong…

“Good catch, NAME—but we should have caught it first. DM us your order number and we’ll look into it!”

3) When your prices are “too high”…

“Give us another chance, NAME? Starting DATE, we’re offering INSERT PROMOTION.”


All “red tier” complaints should be immediately rerouted to the DMs. At that point, reach out for the user’s full name and phone number, then pass along the information to an experienced customer service representative.

1) When a customer falls ill…

“We hope you are feeling better, NAME. We take these matters very seriously; please private message us when you can so we can help get this taken care of.”

2) When there’s a customer service issue…

“Hi, NAME. Thank you for bringing that to our attention. That is not the type of experience we want our customers to have. Would you mind sending us a private message?”

3) When it gets political…

“This is really important feedback, NAME. We’d love to chat more. Can you send us a private message?”

Need some more pointers? We have an entire team dedicated to moderating and listening to social feeds. Get in touch.

Tags: Best Practices, Community Management, Facebook, Instagram, Real-Time, Strategy, Tools, Twitter

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