How to Take an Online Conversation Offline

Where online posts were once limited to discussion boards and online reviews, and confined to consumers, we now see online conversations taking place between people and organizations. And let’s face it: Some conversations on social media should not be public, where they can sometimes cause more harm than good. Here are some typical scenarios that warrant transitioning a social media interaction to a more private channel:

Never ask for a person’s contact information via a public message. Instead, ask someone to send you a private message with full name, phone number and/or email, or direct them to contact you using a published phone number for further assistance. If possible, remind them to be extra careful about how they disclose account numbers, Social Security numbers and other sensitive information online.

Complicated issues:
For issues that are too complicated to solve via social media channels, politely inform the person that the best way for your organization to provide service is to continue the conversation over the phone or in person. Either get or provide contact information so that you or the appropriate representative from your organization is able to follow up.

Upset customers:
While addressing issues publicly on social media channels shows your organization’s genuine approach toward customer service, an upset customer can turn hostile. If this occurs, take the high road and don’t get drawn into an ugly public exchange. Instead, suggest taking the conversation offline as a way to better resolve the individual’s concerns. 

Lance Kissler is the new media and marketing officer for Spokane Teachers Credit Union.

This article was adapted from
 PR News’ Digital PR Guidebook, Volume 4This and other guidebooks can be ordered at the PR News Press online store.