Respond to complaints, improve reputation

eMarketer today reported on a recent study by Maritz Research that exposes how brands and consumers operate via Twitter. The results of the study are interesting in that the older the tweeter, the more they expect brands to respond when they tweet a complaint. This is interesting because those who don’t value Twitter are often heard saying it’s the younger generation who are using the tool. While that may be true, it looks like it’s the older generation that expects more.

Another interesting result from Maritz Research is that an overwhelming 74.7 percent of respondents said they were pleased with a brand when they did respond to their complaint. That’s a huge number that leaves the door open to a great opportunity for your brand’s reputation. In addition, eMarketer included research information from a Forrester study that shows brands that do respond to complaints can help improve their reputations among consumers.

Bensonwood is a design/build company that is very active on social media, and does ‘listen’ when people talk about them. “We definitely think it’s important to monitor what people are saying about us. If someone has a message for us, we try to respond as quickly as possible. It’s a dialogue not monologue. If they have questions, you can’t let it just sit up there, plus it can get worse if you don’t respond. They just want to know you are there and listening, and trying to help them,” says David Donohue who handles public relations for Bensonwood, Walpole, N.H.

Feia Construction is a design/build remodeling company in Waukesha, Wis. that also believes in monitoring social media. "Why do I believe it's important to respond to people who talk about you online? Because I believe the number one rule of social media is social engagement. Engaging with your customers gives you the opportunity to obtain feedback, build company/brand loyalty and is an avenue for free marketing. Even complaints or problems are opportunities in disguise to show you really care about your customers," says Susie Feia, owner/designer.

In the past few years, there have been a few brands that have been caught on the wrong side of social media. The most recent situation happened with ChapStick. The company deleted negative comments on its Facebook page, and in the result has faced a huge social media backlash.

During Web 2.0 earlier this month, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced there are 250 million tweets every single day. What if just one of those tweets is a complaint from a potential or current client? Donohue says it best: “If someone gets upset, they now have multiple platforms [to express that frustration].”