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Businesses Can't Afford to Neglect Customer Service on Facebook Some well-known retailers are not responding adequately to customer-service complaints online. Your business should not do the same.

By Mikal E. Belicove

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Businesses Cant Afford to Neglect Customer Service on Facebook

Your business's Facebook Page is every bit as important as a face-to-face encounter with a customer. But some well-known retailers fail to provide adequate customer service online.

STELLAService, a New York City-based firm that rates online retail businesses for their customer service, went undercover and posted service-related questions on 20 retailers' Facebook walls or in the comments section below the page owner's own status updates.

Some retailers removed the customer question from their wall without ever commenting, and another five questions remained unanswered for at least two days. Only seven businesses took the time to answer questions posted within 48 hours.

Eliminating or ignoring customers' service-related questions posted on your Facebook Page is unprofessional at best and significantly damaging to your brand at worst. Such practices ensure only that the issue will remain unresolved and the customer will grow only angry. What brick-and-mortar company would allow an employee to walk away from a customer who has just asked them a question? None that I'm aware of, but that's exactly what some retailers are doing online.

Related: Only You Can Prevent Cringe-Worthy Customer Service

Businesses and brands that choose to correspond actively with their customers on Facebook will rise to the top when it comes to gaining customer loyalty. Those who ignore service and support-related issues posted on the world's most popular social utility should seriously reevaluate their social media strategies.

Here are some tips on how to effectively manage your business's Facebook page:

Respond quickly. Reply to queries and complaints in a timely manner to make sure other customers don't see you left someone hanging.

Be proactive. Respond to customer questions as status updates – they are more visible than comments to wall posts. Doing so can potentially prevent an onsluaght of questions or complaints over the same issue.

Share your wins. Customers post positive comments, not just negative ones. Share that information internally among the customer service and tech support team members. Everyone could stand to hear good news, especially if all they usually hear are complaints.

How do you make sure customer questions and complaints on Facebook are addressed adequately? Let us know in the comments below.

Related: Social Care: Managing Customer Service via a Facebook Page

Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. For more information, visit MikalBelicove.com.

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