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How to complain online and get results

Making your voice heard on the company's social media site is thought to be the easiest way to get good customer service. But Consumer Reports warns that shouting your complaint and making a scene might not provide the results you want. Consumer Investigator Lauren Verno reveals how to get the best customer service.

If you use social media to lodge complaints, you’re not alone. Almost every company big and small is on social media. If you’ve got a beef, why not use those channels to help resolve the problem? Consumer Reports says it’s a good idea, with this caveat: Use some common courtesy. In other words, don’t Twitter-shame right off the bat.

Whatever platform you’re using, try a direct message first. Companies know you can put them on blast where everybody can see your message, so they may appreciate it when you don’t.

What’s more, you could actually get a faster or more helpful response. And there are other benefits by going the private message route. CR says it can also help you avoid scams because no one can see your complaint except a company rep, and that’s especially important when dealing with a bank or financial services company.

Which brings us to our next tip: Make sure you’re reaching out to and interacting with an official company account. On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram an authentic account should have a checkmark in a blue circle.

But no matter how angry or frustrated you may be, it’s important to be nice and not threaten the company in your DMs. Remember there’s a person on the other side of that message, and you want that person on your side because they may be able to help resolve your problem.

CR also suggests managing your expectations when it comes to getting a response. Don’t expect one immediately. Instead, give it a day or so.