Defensive or Proactive Responses

As much as companies try to be loved by all, it is only natural that they receive negative comments. What’s important is how they deal with them. There are two types of responses, proactive or defensive.

The difference between Proactive and Defensive 

When companies are defensive, they are trying to diminish a customer’s comment or not respond to it at all. For example, if a customer is saying that their food from a restaurant was bad, the company can claim that this is not a normal occurrence or just do nothing about it. If a company is being proactive, they will show support and try to work through the concerns of the consumer. If we use the same example, the proactive response would be to apologize and tell the consumer they will look into the problem and fix it right away. They might even throw in a coupon or refund. So the main difference between the two methods is the feeling each gives off, a lack of care vs understanding, and the reaction each may result in. 

Choose Proactive or Defensive?

I believe proactive reactions would be the best way to go about responding to a customer. Customers want to feel like they are being heard and being proactive and listening provides that. Being defensive however just makes the customer feel shut down and angry at the company. Being defensive usually does not make the consumer believe they were wrong but instead makes them angrier that the company won’t believe them or own up to it. When it comes to situations like this, the customer is always right. The company should take responsibility and try to talk offline before things escalate or many other consumers see the comment. Trying to fix problems looks good to not only the customers that had a problem with the company but the one’s looking in as well. 

Proactive Response

This JetBlue twitter exchange is the perfect example on how proactive responses can work. As you can see, they showed their concern and made the consumer feel heard by asking a follow up question. Once they got the answer they needed, they showed they were not happy about this either and tried to get the conversation off of social media and into a private conversation to deal with it. They also admitted they were at fault and are refunding them some money for the inconvenience. They handled it well. Being proactive helped to assure that the consumer and those who witnessed it do not feel as though this is a regular problem and JetBlue is there to work through any problems. If they were to be dismissive or defensive, the customers would most likely never use JetBLue again and other customers would become skeptical of the lack of concern by JetBlue.

Defensive Response 

Here is an example of a very defensive response that can not happen. A customer at a fancy restaurant had complaints about her meal and posted them on facebook. The chef at the restaurant was quick to respond very aggressively. The customer had every right to express her concerns. These companies and business people can not let the negative comments get to them. Many other customers or potential customers saw this and were very turned off by the restaurant’s chefs behavior and will never return to eat there now. 

As you can see, it is very important to respond accordingly to all comments. It can be hard to just let negative comments go and respond nicely to them, but it is crucial to do so. Social media responses make big impressions so be sure to be proactive not defensive in your responses to get the best results.

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