As marketers our initial reaction to negative WOM might be negative itself, especially when that negativity is voiced through very public social media channels. However, this might not necessarily be a bad thing for brands. In many ways, consumers that take the step to comment may be an indication of greater engagement and loyalty to the brand. If the correct redress to the complaint is given, then the loyalty and future business of the consumer may be retained.
Bach and Kim’s (2012) study states “the majority of dissatisfied consumers do not voice their complaints to an organization.” This indicates that instead of trying to engage with a brand, dissatisfied consumers may simply move on to a new retail or service provider, while the very engaged voice their opinions.
Meaningful engagement with a brand goes beyond the like, the fan, and the follow. Consumers who seek out a brand’s social media channels and post on those sites, are much more actively engaged with the brand and should have value to companies, even if it is negative content.
If negative WOM increases engagement with our brand and we as marketers have strategies in place to provide the right course of redress, is negative WOM really a bad thing?