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How Home Depot Handled an Angry Consumer on Facebook

Home Depot’s social media team earned kudos recently for the nicely handled way it engaged an upset consumer on Facebook. The case study in online behavior tracked by David Clarke on iMedia Connection started with a consumer complaint posted on Facebook about poor delivery service by Home Depot.

First, the big retailer responded by speaking in a conciliatory tone that personalized the conversation and humanized the brand. It addressed the poster by her first name and provided her with useful information. The post ended with the name of the Home Depot employee who crafted it, another nice touch. By asking for the consumer’s direct contact information, it actively sought to bring her out from the cold and take the conversation offline.

But the consumer wasn’t satisfied at first, since she already had provided her email address. Home Depot didn’t take a defensive stance, but asked for time to research and resolve the complaint. Meanwhile, another customer jumped in with their own complaint about Home Depot.

Again, Home Depot didn’t take the bait, but asked the second consumer to provide more information about their bad experience with the company. Meanwhile, after researching the first person’s issue, it found that one of its employees already was working on resolving the problem. And it addressed both posters by name in a single response.

Clarke’s key takeaways:

  • Home Depot showed they understand their posters and are able to engage them effectively.
  • When and how to move the conversation offline — and how to effectively write a post that allows for it — is an important decision companies must make in threads such as these, and Home Depot managed that decision perfectly.
  • Most importantly, Home Depot got the last word, which is imperative in these posts, as you don’t just start a thread, you finish it.

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