The five points that are outlined in this Fast Company story about how to manage and engage with the portion of an audience that are complaining loudly about this, that or the other thing are completely spot on. It’s never a bad thing to Acknowledge, Apologize, Amplify, Ask and Act on those complaints. In fact some combination of those five verbs is arguably essential, though you can’t always do as many as you like.That’s because what’s not stated in this kind of pie-in-the-sky outline is the reality that the action taken isn’t always in line with what those doing the complaining would like to see a company do. Or, more often, what’s being seen as a “problem” by the audience is actually what’s best for eh company and is simply a decision that will not be reversed, apologized for or anything else.

So the missing point in that list of actions is “Explain.”

Sometimes decisions are made that are going to be exactly what makes sense for a company, whether that be for creative or business reasons. It fits with corporate goals, it has been made after a thoughtful and deliberative process and the risks of taking that course of action have been fully explored, including the fact that it’s going to turn off a certain (occasionally sizable) portion of the consumer base. But it has to be made because it’s what’s best for the company from most or all objective measures.

It thereby falls to the communications team – whether online or off – to explain why that decision was made. Silence is usually unacceptable so the plan needs to be how to present that to the audience in a way that they will accept. Not every reaction is a knee-jerk course correction based on feedback from what it often an extremely vocal minority. But there does need to be some sort of reaction, even if it’s just to take pains to show people why a decision was made.