Corporate Responses: Proactive vs. Defensive

As a brand having a social media presence is necessary in order to stay relevant. The point of social media is to start a conversation. The saying “all publicity is good publicity” doesn’t always translate well into the online world. Sure people are talking and commenting on your posts, but is this conversation steered the wrong way?

When a company receives these types of negative comments they have a choice about how they would like to respond. One option is to be proactive and try to amend the wrong they did the customer and try to repair that relationship. The other option is to be defensive and prove why you’re right and the customer is wrong.

Here Whole Foods demonstrates how to proactively respond to a customer. Instead of ignoring this tweet or pushing another product on the customer, they offered solutions. By doing this they received a positive response from their customer and strengthened their relationship with their consumer base.

proactive vs. defensive response

An example of an extremely poor defensive response is that of Pigalle, a restaurant in Boston. Unfortunately for Pigalle their horrible mishandling of this situation caught quite a bit of negative press.

Other than the obvious difference in tone between these two responses the big thing we see here is proactive vs. defensive response. The proactive response errs on the side of “the customer is always right”. Whereas the defensive response is aggressive and distasteful. Proactive responses offer condolences and solutions which creates a positive environment for communication flow. Defensive responses deter customers from engaging with the company and ruin their reputation.

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