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Hello? Is Anyone Listening?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Most brands are used to dealing with customer comments and feedback and handling these situations in an appropriate manner. That is, of course, if those comments are fielded via phone, mail, or even email. But that dynamic is changing and customers are talking everywhere, especially online. As much as it seems unreasonable, they expect brands to listen and to take action no matter where the comment is made. An unhappy customer becomes downright annoyed when they are ignored, so what should a brand’s reaction plan be?

It’s less about the correct answer to the situation and more about a brand’s focus on having an actual plan. Today, 18- to 34-year olds are three times as likely to complain via social media about a brand then the 47 to 64 age group. These customers aren’t picking up the phone or grabbing a pen to script a letter but rather submitting a complaint online in the social media world. Although this may seem passive aggressive, it certainly is not. This consumer set assumes this is the quickest way to get a response and that’s why they do it. It’s their comfort, it’s their medium of choice, and it’s not something a brand can ignore.

SHOCKING NEWS! Only half of brands currently use social media to answer customer concerns and problems. That means 50% of brands basically ignore anything a customer says online. Even scarier is the thought that only 44% have a social media escalation plan and only 40% feel they were prepared to handle a social media “explosion.”

The best practice here is to understand that a complaint is a complaint is a complaint. Yes, there are different sources for customers to make a complaint, but a brand should be prepared to handle the worst. Customers aren’t going to back off this easy-to-use social media platform in favor of a telephone. Brands need to accept it, create a strategy to handle it, and, in the meantime, become quite seasoned in something they might have originally ignored.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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