The initial step to securing your company’s reputation is providing high-quality products and services to your customers. By doing so, you will not only ensure their satisfaction and avoid negative associations with your brand, you will attract more customers when other people rave about the quality of services you provide. That is how word-of-mouth marketing works.

It is inevitable, however, that some people will not be satisfied with your brand. They may present their complaints directly to you, or they may use social media to voice their feelings and opinions. You cannot simply ignore these customers. One short video or negative comment posted in a social network can spread nationwide in a matter of days. When this happens, you are likely to struggle in rebuilding the reputation you have established for years.

Creating Your Brand Escalation Plan

A brand escalation plan is all you need to solve and fix any problem your customers may have about your product or service. This plan serves as a clear response strategy that will help your entire team provide effective damage control and prevent negative publicity.

Inform your company’s representatives and employees about the importance of customer service. Make sure they commit to a high level of quality when they deal with customers’ comments and feedback. The following tips can help you execute your brand escalation plan:

1. Make sure all your team members understand who is in charge of complicated customer issues. Most problems are blown out of proportion when a customer service representative is unable to resolve an issue. It is important that you assign someone in the team who can handle special concerns to any customer’s satisfaction.

2. Avoid hiding from bad news. Remember, negative feedback will continue to circulate on the Internet. Issues grow worse when you choose to ignore them. Try to get to the root of the complaint, and work on damage control immediately. In addition, you should resolve issues with the offended party privately. Talk to the customer over the phone to ensure a civil conversation.

3. Consider making amends when necessary. In most cases, it is more cost-effective and emotionally-efficient to return an unsatisfied customer’s money or provide future discounts to settle any dispute rather than ignoring hostile comments published online.

4. Keep in mind, unpleasant news does not have to end badly for your brand’s reputation. You can prove to the world your company provides the appropriate and proactive response to resolve concerns. When you handle your customers’ concerns correctly, they will associate your company with corporate responsibility and commitment.

Brand Escalation Plan: Additional Points to Remember

The following are some important questions that will guide you on how you can go about your company’s escalation plan.

1. Which team member should handle a particular task?
2. Which communication process is the ideal one to use?
3. Is it necessary to hire social media consultants that can help the team?

After you have contemplated these questions when creating your escalation plan, review and consider doing the following:

1. Organize your team.

You may want to choose front-line workers – those who have experience dealing with customers’ issues personally or via live chat and phone. Use customer service and support teams that understand your brand and have obtained professional training in customer relations or practical experience. Unleash your employees’ potentials by providing them with the freedom to engage with customers online. (Think of how Nordstrom’s does this so well.)

2. Create a quick and effective plan.

Choose a communication process that will not end up complicating the problem. For instance, you may consider using social media because of the ease in communicating efficiently. Business experts believe that companies face “now marketing,” where they cannot afford to waste time when making important decisions. They should act quickly before they lose the opportunity.

3. Decide whether you should spend money on social media consultants or not.

Do you have the ability to monitor your brand 24/7? Does everyone on the team have the skills to move emotional conversations “off the page” tactfully and with great care? Do your team members have the ability to get your clients or connections to talk, to air out (electronically or verbally) all of their emotion so they can get “through it” to resolution? You may need to hire a social media manager who has long years of experience in the field who can assist you with this.

With a brand escalation plan, your team will have an effective structure that encourages excellent service, confidence in the quality of their response, a positive impression and quality improvement to your customers.


Maria Elena Duron, CEO (chief engagement officer), buzz2bucks | a word-of-mouth marketing firm, is skilled at making networks “work” and harnessing powerful online and offline buzz. She facilitates online visibility services and word-of-mouth coaching and workshops – taking companies and professionals from buzz-worthy to bucks-worthy, http://buzz2bucks.com.

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Your Brand Escalation Plan: Essential Tips for Every Company

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Your Brand Escalation Plan: Essential Tips for Every Company

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