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Lauren Wegmann
Digital Supervisor
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Miss the fourth trend in digital crisis management? Check it out here.

The word detractors sound like dementors from Harry Potter for good reason. According to Harry Potter, the exact definition of a dementor is: “The foulest creatures that walk this earth. They drain peace, hope and happiness out of the air around them.”

Your brand's detractors, or as we like to call them, dementors are extremely resourceful and can have a serious effect on your brand. An individual critic’s voice can travel around the world quicker and easier today than ever more. Small organizations or groups of critics are fast and nimble with social media. The increase of individual influence is why it is so important to always remain in-tune, listen to, analyze and respond to consumer generated content.

Each of us have the potential to be an influencer in our own circles, so traffic alone can no longer be the only metric for judging impact. When someone is disgruntled with your brand and shares their feelings online, you can and should quickly address. The best approach includes the following tips:

1. Acknowledge

Most people just want to be heard, and there is no better way to satiate a dissatisfied consumer than to recognize their complaint and show actions that are being taken to remedy the situation. An immediate apology is not always right move. From a legal stand-point (and depending on the situation), an apology may be seen as an admission of guilt and should be avoided. A brand, however, can still be empathetic and authentic with alternative statements, such as “It’s unfortunate to hear that you…”

2. Clarify

Sometimes negative comments stem from a lack of knowing a brand’s policy or reasoning behind a given situation. This is an opportunity to explain why certain policies exist, what they are and where they can learn more information. Speak broadly and offer specific details. If facts are misinterpreted or misrepresented about your brand, connect, clarify and correct.

3. Help

Whether it’s changing official policy, offering an incentive for their return or connecting offline to further investigate, showing action really helps (re)gain confidence in a brand. The more personalized the customer service, the better. Ask how you can help or better the issue. By creating a solution together, true and valuable relationships are nourished.

There will always be some who are hard or impossible to pacify. Do your research: Look at previous reviews, comments and posts to see if there’s a conclusive trend. You may be dealing with a dementor we mentioned earlier, so know when to throw in the towel.

Let us know how your brand is dealing with detractors. Tweet us your tips @DEVENEYnola, using hashtag #DEVchat.


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