How to apologize on Twitter

Phoenix burger-joint The Attic learned its lesson the hard way last month after a dispute with a customer played out over social media, receiving widespread negative attention. It all started with a customer complaining about an overcooked burger and the server telling them they weren't welcome back. The customer posted about the customer-service fail on Foursquare, and in response, The Attic retaliated with harsh Twitter and Facebook posts. The feud concluded when the customer received a letter of apology from the owners five days after the incident. However, The Attic continues to receive swipes from customers for handling the situation so poorly.

Customer service is just as important online as it is in house. The whole world sees what happens on social media and like everything else on the web, it never really goes away. Your social media strategy for apologizing should reflect your company’s in-house customer service standards and be specifically tailored to how your customers use each platform.

In a new ebook, “How to Apologize on Social Media eBook: Never Ruin An Apology With An Excuse,” newBrandAnalytics, a social media analytics firm in Washington, D.C., and Restaurant Business' partner on our Reputation Tracker feature, offers four tips on how to win your customers over on Twitter after you make a mistake:

Don’t miss what matters

With nearly 3,200 tweets being sent every minute, it is critical that you don’t let your customer’s complaint get lost in the shuffle. Use some kind of social media tracking tool to monitor for certain words or hashtags on Twitter that mention your brand. Additionally, since Twitter is updated at a rapid pace, it is important to set up alerts to help you quickly spot any negative mentions of your business.

Don’t get lost in the noise

Once you’ve found a negative review, you need to make sure that you grab the customer’s attention as well as the attention of other users on Twitter. Click “Reply” to respond directly to the person who tweeted the negative comment. To get more viewership on your apology, put a character or extra word in front of their Twitter handle, such as “our apologies.” If you do not do this, Twitter will think it is a personal conversation and will only make the tweet readily available to your account and the user you tweeted.

The art of 140

The art of fitting an apology into the 140 characters allowed per tweet is all about harnessing maximum readability and maximum retweetability. Eliminate any overly emotional words that are extras. While they may feel more genuine, they are actually just taking up valuable space that you could be using to show how you’re fixing the problem.

Follow-up and follow through

Last, make sure you follow up. Open a case with your support team or if you are the support team, make sure this task doesn’t get lost. An apology without follow through is as good as an empty promise.


See brands that are doing social media right by viewing the Restaurant Business Reputation Tracker.


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