Carol Spieckerman's comments on today's Retail Wire discussion: Brands fail to deal with social complaints.
Being on social media implies being available via social media to address both sneers and cheers. Doing so requires a dedicated effort, vigilance and deft communication skills. All three are now table stakes.
That said, responding immediately and publicly to individual complaints isn't always prudent. Determining the point at which individual complaints begin to form patterns is an opportunity area for most retailers and brands. Proactive corporate statements and action steps are more appropriate in these cases, but will backfire if delayed. A recent and extreme example is the massive security breach that unfortunately, got "branded" as a Target problem. As complaints hit scale, all other corporate messages are drowned out. By then, it's too late.