Small Business Success Podcast 088—Ask the Expert—Social Media for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

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Today, Dusey, Scott and Crystal, our Social Media Manager, give you ideas on how to make the most of your social media presence, such as being proactive, saving time with bots, dealing with negative interactions, and time saving tricks.

Check out our guide to handling customer complaints.


Dusey: Hello, listeners. This is Dusey. I'm the producer for the Small Business Success Podcast. Today, we're joined by cofounder of Infusionsoft, Scart Mar ... Scott Martineau.

Scott Martineau: Hello, Dusey. Everybody does that. Don't worry. There's something about the Scott followed by the Martineau, and it just ends up Scart.

Dusey: Scart. Then, that voice that you hear laughing is Crystal Heuft. Hi Crystal. How's it going?

Crystal Heuft: Hi, Dusey. Thanks for having me today.

Dusey: Thanks for coming on. She's our social media manager. Why don't you tell us a little bit about what you do and what some of your history is?

Crystal Heuft: Sure. I work for Infusionsoft now, and I feel very lucky. I manage all the social media here, so anything from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, go follow us all. I come from working in marketing for 10-plus years, most recently at U-Haul, where we had over 10,000 posts going out a month on all of our different accounts. They do a lot more than just moving, but there I really got a- 

Dusey: 10 ... That's awesome. Wow.

Crystal Heuft: Yeah, it was a lot. It was a lot, but really, with that many posts going out, you have an awesome experience of learning about what the customer needs and what they want and any of their pain points, any issues they have that come up, and you get to learn how to address those. That's been a really awesome experience for me. Now, I'm able to take that here and do the same thing.

Dusey: That's awesome, so great.

Scott Martineau: Well, I think the topic is super important and timely. I think all of us know that, with all of the noise that exists in the world today, that trust is just this sort of sacred asset that we have to build. In fact, very infrequently am I going to go buy something, choose to engage with a company, before going to find out online, what are people saying about them? This idea of this reputation that follows us around, whether we want it to or not, is a huge deal. I think business owners, with all of the hats they have to [manage, inaudible 00:02:03], this is yet another thing they have to think about. Our goal today is to help give some just simple tools and techniques that'll help you know how to handle that online reputation. We'll specifically focus on how do I handle when a customer complains?

Maybe I'll just add one comment to kick that off. We heard a fantastic keynote by David Horsager, talking about trust. In his research he found that there are different times where building trust is more likely to happen. The good news is crisis is one of the times where building trust is going to happen most likely. You think about maybe a natural disaster. People tend to come to ... Our senses are heightened, and complete strangers are all of a sudden in a complete form of trust.

Now, I think a customer complaint or breakdown is different. I'm not trying to say it's the same as a natural disaster. It might feel like it, but it's a time where you've got emotions flying, and there's an opportunity to build a relationship. Some of the best customer relationships that you have will happen as a result of your handling that crisis effectively. Important stuff we're talking about today.

Dusey: Absolutely.

Crystal Heuft: Definitely. To your point of what you were just saying, only 4% of dissatisfied customers actually reach out and share that they're dissatisfied. When you think of that, everyone's always afraid to answer those angry customers, but really you should be afraid of the 96% that aren't even reaching out, and respond to that 4% as quickly and efficiently as possible, because they're actually an opportunity to create a loyal customer, if handled correctly, and build that trust.

Scott Martineau: Well, and a lot of times, other customers may go read that, and your response is important to them, even though they may not be engaging.

Crystal Heuft: Definitely.

Scott Martineau: It's a huge opportunity to learn, right? I mean, I think at the core of this ... We were just talking before the episode. Crystal, your point was fantastic about, at the core of this, is we actually have to serve our customer. We actually have to listen to our customer, and what a great opportunity. I mean, we'd pay a lot of money to go out and figure out what our customers are thinking, and here we have customers telling us. It just happens to create this sort of anxiety, because I don't know how to handle it when somebody lights me up one side and down the other.

Crystal Heuft: Yeah, and sometimes that's exactly what they do, three posts at a time, but they just want to be heard at the end of the day and understood.

Scott Martineau: Yeah, right.

Dusey: Let's start with that 4% that does reach out. Then we'll come back around to the 96. How are you finding out about that, without spending all day on every single social network and every single review site that's out there.

Crystal Heuft: Right, well, if you're starting out, you might just want to pick a couple times during the day, if you're a new, small business. You might want to take first thing in the morning, middle of the day, and five minutes at the end of the day, just search natively within Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your hashtags and your company name, to see what people are saying, and you might find customers very happy about you, where you can engage there, or some that you can address their concerns right away.

If you're a little bit more developed or you have a little bit more, I guess, disposable income or revenue, you might want to look at platforms, such as Sprout, where you can automate your posts, as well as get a listening queue with your words, like @infusionsoft or #infusionsoft, whatever your company name is and search those. Basically, the platform does it all for you. They put it in a queue. It takes from any platform you want to link to, and it's going to give you a nice area that you can respond to right from the platform itself.

Dusey: Oh, that sounds like a lifesaver.

Crystal Heuft: It is, a time saver for sure.

Dusey: Yeah.

Scott Martineau: I just had an interesting thought, which is, if you have members of your team, for the listeners, first of all, chances are they're probably on Facebook several times a day. Maybe you could have them check while they're there.

Crystal Heuft: Definitely.

Scott Martineau: In all seriousness, I think there's certain personalities, who tend to be natively a little more aware socially, and I think their personalities are also able to handle some of the ... They've maybe just had more experience with seeing how people handle conflict or complaints.

Crystal Heuft: Sure.

Scott Martineau: That might be something to think about. Don't necessarily think about it needing to be you or it might be something you put out to others, and it might not be anybody in your company. There might be a VA or somebody that you could talk to, but I think the issue is it's got to be a priority.

Crystal Heuft: It does.

Scott Martineau: Do you want to speak to ... Let's say a complaint comes down the pike in one of these channels. How much time ... You said three times a day. What's behind that? How much time ... What's our goal? How fast are we responding?

Crystal Heuft: Yeah, I think when I'm saying three times a day, that's for someone just starting out, where you're just starting your efforts. Really, the response time on social, it's expected to be around 45 to an hour, and as ... Yeah, you would never think that.

Scott Martineau: Because we don't have enough things to do, right?

Crystal Heuft: Right, I know. That's why those queues are really handy, because they can even alert you when you have a new post in a queue, so that you can address it quickly. Other things like Facebook Messenger Bot are very easy to use, really friendly for small business, because they can address the concern right away by saying, "We'll be back with you within one day," or two days, whatever your time period is. People just want to know that you've seen that they're upset, that their concern's going to be addressed and handled, and that you're going to make time to handle that concern.

Scott Martineau: Explain how that works, how Facebook Messenger Bot works.

Crystal Heuft: Sure. It's basically an opportunity that, when a customer goes to your Facebook page and leaves you a message, Facebook Messenger Bot is going to come on and automatically address the concern with a personalized message that you've already put into the system. It may say, "Hey, we see that you have something to say to us. We're going to be right with you within a day." I mean, I think with a little more time, you guys could come up with something better than that, but I think it's the main thing to just let them know that the message has been received and that you're going to get back to them within a reasonable amount of time. That happens automatically. It's something that's automated, you don't have to go and do every time. You set it up from the beginning. That way, the customer knows you've had the message and you're addressing it, and it's quick. That happens before even an hour is up. You can get your response time up on Facebook, which just helps your business page.

All of those things come into play, and the customer really feels like you're going to take the time to respond. The only caveat of that is you'd better get in there and respond within the time that you said you would, because, again, we're building trust, even within handling concerns. You want to make sure you go back in there and you solve the problem within the time that you say you're going to, or start the conversation.

Scott Martineau: Then, what's your advice, in terms of solving it on the platform versus taking it to a phone call or something? Do you have any thoughts on that?

Crystal Heuft: Sure, I mean, let's face it. We all start somewhere. You may not be able to have that response time of an hour right when you're starting. You may not have the bandwidth to do that, but I think when you do respond, you need to be engaged. You need to be actively listening, even though it's on a social platform, meaning, let them tell you the whole story of what happened, without you trying to butt in and move the conversation to a quick resolution, because a customer is basically probably a stage five clinger you dated back in college-

Dusey: A stage five-

Crystal Heuft: In the sense that they just want to be understood, and so if you listen to them and really try to understand, not just hear what they said, then they're probably going to feel like they can address the solution a lot quicker than if you try to cut them off or direct them down the path you need them to go, because it's easier for you.

Scott Martineau: My temptation to maybe take the conversation offline, "Hey, let's have a phone conversation," ... You're totally fine saying, "Hey, let's resolve it right here on Facebook." Let them be more specific?

Crystal Heuft: Sure, I think if it's-

Scott Martineau: Or we leave it up to the customer ... What, what-

Crystal Heuft: Yeah, I think up to the customer, but I think if they want to share their story, it's only going to show strength in the way you respond if you let them talk about it. Now, if you're dealing with private account numbers or usernames, that's the kind of stuff you want to take offline, but sometimes if they just want to say what happened, let them get the story out, and then it's going to show strength when you say, "We never wanted that to happen. We're sorry you had that experience," and you can move on to, "How can I fix this for you, at this point?"

A lot of times you see people are out there. They just say they hate your company, and you don't really know why. You could be too scared and consider that irrelevant, since it's not an actionable item, but my personal belief is you attack it head-on. You ask them what it is, because that's what they really need is someone who wants to know what happened and where the process broke down for them. Again, that's back to the learning. You're going to learn a lot more if you ask those questions. Even starting here at Infusionsoft, we all know in this room and in this building why we're here. We want to help small businesses succeed, but even the best ... If you come in 110 every day, sometimes 110, you needed 120, and it just sometimes doesn't work the way you wanted. Before I was coming, I think they were only responding to direct complaints on social.

I just believe, if someone's saying they hate you, even if they're not a customer anymore, I want to know why. I want to be able to combat that with how we've changed, how we've listened, what kind of updates we have now that are increasing the experience for our customers. Every opportunity of handling a concern is an opportunity for a sale.

Dusey: You mentioned that, the 96% that don't ever say anything. They might be watching. They might be seeing this complaint that's a proxy for their own complaint and seeing how you're resolving it.

Crystal Heuft: Sure.

Scott Martineau: If they're not watching the post, they are watching the way you treat them, and so your ability to demonstrate that you're listening, learning, making changes so that that doesn't happen again, they're going to feel it, right?

Scott Martineau: I think that's what everybody ... I mean, everybody's human, maybe a few exceptions to some sociopaths or whatever, but, for the most case, people are humans. They have space for recognizing you made a mistake. They just want to know are you going to ... Do you care enough to listen, and are you going to do anything about it, so it doesn't happen again?

Crystal Heuft: Right, and at the end of the day, I think that also shows right back to our values. If we're answering those and responding to anyone that needs help, that just goes back to we genuinely care right away. People can see that we do, even when it's not fun. I'll tell you, some days I'm looking at something, and I'm like, "Man, I wish I didn't have to touch that with a 10-foot pole," but the problem's just going to escalate and multiply if you don't really respond. I mean, a lot of times, people will tag onto each other, if you don't say something on social. All of a sudden, you're basically begging for anyone that's been unhappy to put all their comments on the same post.

Dusey: Compile dumpster [inaudible 00:12:44], yeah.

Crystal Heuft: Yeah, so I think that's another reason that's important, not just customer by customer, but the perception of your entire audience is watching, and they want to know that you're taking care of things and that you're trying to make sure everyone's happy.

Scott Martineau: I'd add that I think people tend to show their colors. Everybody who's sort of sitting on the sidelines watching, they're going to make their own assessment, and if somebody is completely unreasonable, and they're unwilling to accept your efforts to listen and make changes and make things right, I think people will see that and say, "I'm glad to see this company's listening. It's not working for that person, but I may not end up holding that against the company," right?

Crystal Heuft: Sure.

Scott Martineau: I wonder ... This is a little bit of an impromptu ask, so no pressure, Crystal, but I think it would be really cool if we could share with our listeners a set of maybe 10 or 15 really, really well executed responses to customer complaints, because I think there's probably some sort of standard approaches in language, and then in style, and so forth, that would help. Maybe we could share a couple on different channels.

Crystal Heuft: Sure.

Scott Martineau: Just give ... That way there's something concrete, and if I have somebody on my team that's going to do this or somebody, whom I'm going to hire as an outsource or a VA or something. We could just say, "Hey, here's some ideas." Maybe you could work up our standard approach, so that it fits with our brand, but what's our standard approach to complaints. Anyways, how do you feel about that, Crystal?

Crystal Heuft: I feel great. I'd love to help, with the caveat of every business has to make it their own. You can make a template. Just like we automate all of our emails and make it personal with our own brand touch, if I share this with you all, then you have to go and make it your own personal branded touch. Use what I share, and make it your own for your own social and your own brand.

Scott Martineau: Great.

Dusey: Cool, well, yeah, we can definitely put some of those examples in the show notes, so you can all go check that out. Before we wrap up, I want to circle back on this idea of all those people who maybe have a complaint but never share it. What do you do to get at them and to start to understand them and to be able to address their concerns?

Crystal Heuft: I think you have to get proactive. A lot of times, we have this mentality with customer service and success, where we basically speak when spoken to, and I think that's a thing of the past. You have to figure out what pain points do your customers have before they ever have them-

Scott Martineau: And when do they have them, right?

Crystal Heuft: Yes, exactly, and then you need to build content around these things, so whether it's a blog about how you're going to make the process easier for them, or, if they're facing struggles with an email automation campaign, give them the content before they're going to have the problem, and they probably won't ever have the problem or the concern. I think that's the next step for customer service. That's going to also handle all that 96% that's not really contacting you, that doesn't want to have conflict or doesn't want to spend the time to do that.

I think that's the next step, as well as really giving them places to go. On your website, have an email address for concerns. Make it easier, because the last place they want to go is social, actually. They do that when they're already upset, because they feel like they didn't have any other outlet. Give them other places to go that are less public, that you can help them quickly, before they actually get to that anger stage. I would say emails. You were mentioning earlier, Scott, about customer surveys. I think that's a great one.

Scott Martineau: Yeah, and especially for all Infusionsoft customers, if you don't have this set up, shame on you, but you ought to decide where in your customer journey is it most natural to find out how well you've done with your initial product or service or how well you're doing, if it's an ongoing service, and set up a really simple campaign to ask how we're doing. You can easily route issues and complaints and concerns to be handled internally, and, for those who are saying that they're feeling really good, it's a great opportunity for them, to ask them to share that with their friends, and maybe even to go add positive reviews, if you've got things ... Yeah, just being proactive about that.

I'll add ... I just was talking with a gentleman at one of our events, who connected Infusionsoft to Amazon. The reason he did it is not because Amazon doesn't send notifications when shipping is happening, but he basically connected them, so that he could essentially add to all the notifications coming out from Amazon when somebody buys the product. He said something really interesting. He said, "Scott, I never get one-star or two-star reviews, even if there's a complete product breakdown, because what happens is I'm showing up proactively just a little bit. I have a little edge on the other people's typical Amazon buying experience, so when the product is shipping, I'm sending them a note and saying, 'Hey, the product has shipped. Here's where you can contact us if you have a problem.'" It just adds to that proactivity and put them-

Dusey: It's not faceless anymore, right?

Scott Martineau: Yeah, it's not, yeah.

Dusey: That's amazing, because a lot of people think of automated emails, how mechanical, but this is the complete opposite. You're suddenly becoming a person that you're interacting with, instead of, "I don't know what's happening behind the doors at Amazon, but here comes my thing, and that's all that matters is that my thing shipped to me, and how that's wonderful."

Scott Martineau: You change the mindset. It's like, if you can get the customer in a mindset of, "Oh, wow," if they have that "oh wow" moment one time, it changes everything that happens in the future. We all know what it's like when we're off in a relationship. When you're off in a relationship, it doesn't matter ... Sayonara, right? It doesn't matter what you do, something's going to be wrong, so love the concept of proactivity, and it's taking that same concept that we actually want to listen. We're going to listen proactively, instead of waiting for you to come back in.

Crystal Heuft: Definitely.

Dusey: If you need or want or desire more information about how to respond to complaints, I've got a blog post for you to go check out at That's, all lowercase.

Scott Martineau: This isn't how to complain. This is-

Dusey: Nah, no, no, no. This is the basics of responding to customer complaints.

Scott Martineau: Then, we'll add another one for the guide of the examples.

Dusey: Yes.

Crystal Heuft: Right.

Dusey: Some of the examples, either in the [crosstalk 00:18:58]-

Crystal Heuft: Or we could update that one.

Dusey: Oh, yeah.

Crystal Heuft: We could update that one with ... Give it a fresh look with some new templates right within that same block.

Scott Martineau: New examples.

Dusey: Cool, well, check out our show notes to find out, and, Scott and Crystal, thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Crystal Heuft: Sure.

Scott Martineau: Thanks, Crystal, awesome to have you here.

Crystal Heuft: Thank you, guys.

Scott Martineau: Great, great stuff today.

Crystal Heuft: Great to be here.

Dusey: Thanks, everybody, and we'll call this a wrap for this episode of the Small Business Success Podcast.

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