Should you ban customers on Facebook? The social media platform has transformed into a medium for customer service. According to an article on ZDNet, almost one-third of consumers use Facebook to speak with customer service representatives. Nearly half of these customers believe Facebook is the fastest way to solve issues. This makes sense since Facebook is a public way for consumers to air grievances and get a quick resolution.

However, large companies like FedEx make half-hearted attempts to answer customer service problems on Facebook. When customers disagree with FedEx, the large shipping company is quick to ban customers on Facebook. This raises two questions: When is it not acceptable to ban customers from posting on a company’s Facebook page, and what can small businesses learn from these customer service failures?

Simple answer: Don’t ban customers on Facebook

According to David Bakke, social media expert at Money Crashers, there is no good reason for banning a customer from posting a legitimate complaint on Facebook, assuming the customer isn’t using profanity or threats.

“Instead of banning customers from posting complaints, you should accept these remarks and address them openly and honestly. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the issue, admit that you were wrong (if that’s the case), then work towards a viable solution. This can actually serve as a form of marketing in and of itself,” Bakke said. “When other viewers read the thread, they’ll see that your business truly cares about its customers and that you take customer complaints seriously.”

Banning someone from posting on a company’s Facebook page should be used as a last resort, according to Travis Balinas, product marketing manager at OutboundEngine. “Make it known in your page description what types of comments won’t be tolerated to justify comment deletion in the future,” he said.

“And also remember that Facebook makes it easy for you to hide comments on your page, which are still visible by the original poster and their friends, but not others,” Balinas added.

Banning customers leads to even more furious attacks

Companies that think if they ban customers on Facebook will stop the negative comments and complaints are only deluding themselves. According to Jeff Kear, owner of Planning Pod, banning customers who have legitimate gripes from posting on Facebook is a bad practice that will only come back to bite the company later.

“First of all, that customer will simply go to another forum (Twitter, Yelp, etc.) and blast you even harder because not only did you ban them but you also did not acknowledge the issue at hand. This just sets you up for more bad PR for an issue you should be addressing anyways,” he said.

Ultimately, there is no good reason for companies to ban customers on Facebook. Customers need to be able to post on companies’ Facebook walls, aside from profanity or threats. Small businesses can learn from these failures of large companies to address Facebook complaints quickly, personalizing the private response and ensuring that the customer is satisfied.