Difference between proactive and defensive responses

There are many instances where consumers are not happy with the company’s product or service. As expected, the consumer may find a way to let the company know, whether they post about it to their social media pages, or email the company itself to express their issue. Companies don’t want other people to see the poor comments as it affects their customer status, and if consumers do see the poor comment, companies want to make sure it is resolved respectfully so people aren’t driven away from their brand.

Defensive Response

If a consumer leaves a negative comment about a poor service or good, the last thing the company wants to do is get defensive. In the world of business, company’s have to please the consumer; or in other terms, the consumer is always right (even if they’re not). A defensive response would include the company denying what the consumer is saying, or saying the consumer is wrong. For example, a consumer leaves a poor comment about how a toy she bought for her son isn’t working after just buying it. For a defensive response, the company may say something along the lines of “we can ensure you our toys were tested before packaging, this shouldn’t be an issue”. This response screams defensive and is something that a company should never do.

Proactive Response

A proactive response to a negative comment should be the path that companies always take. This relates back to the point that the consumer is always right. So, that leaves the company having to be proactive on the situation to keep the customer loyalty. Some comments that are out of context, may be left alone by the company. However, when the comment pertains exactly to the post or directly to the company, it is crucial for the company to answer proactively. A proactive response may include things like an apology, number to call to reach customer service to resolve the issue, and/or a incentive (like a coupon) to ensure customer loyalty and appeal to potential new customers. Below is an example of a proactive response.

Example of Proactive Response

In conclusion, a defensive response is like telling the customer they’re wrong, and a proactive response is assuming the customer is right, and then taking the steps to resolve the situation. A response from the company to a negative comment a consumer made helps build the reputation the company has. If it is a defensive comment, the company will gain a poor reputation. Mistakes happen as we are all humans, therefore, if the company proactively responds, their reputation will not be diminished. Boiling it down; a defensive comment is never the way to go for a company, and a proactive comment is always the way to go for a company.

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