Many businesses are terrified by negative comments about their products and services online and feel at a loss to react. However, brands seem to misinterpret consumers’ intentions behind posting comments on social media, a new survey from YouGov suggests.
While brands think that consumers’ main motivation to complain online is to damage the company’s reputation, the poll reveals that just 17% of consumers post negative comments with the sole intention to embarrass the brand. Instead, half of those polled say they complain because they feel this will help businesses learn from their mistakes and eventually improve the quality of their customer service.
When confronted with negative comments, most UK brands just ignore them or argue with them, which marketers find to be the worst possible reaction because it suggests immaturity and frustration.
Giles Palmer, founder and chief executive of monitoring firm Brandwatch, which commissioned the report, says that brands are often too quick to react to such messages, which is not always the wise thing to do. He claims that it is not speed which matters but the actual understanding of the comments and what has motivated consumers to post them.
Meanwhile, the poll also finds that 27% of consumers communicate with brands online at least once a month. Almost half of consumers who interact with brands online intend to request information, while more than a third do so to complain.