Customers increasingly likely to use social media to complain – survey

10 Oct 2013

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Half of 18-34-year-olds are more likely to complain about a product on social media than they were a year ago, with nearly a quarter of that age group having already expressed displeasure with a product on social media, a new survey suggests.

The survey has been carried out in the UK for global insurer XL Group. Its results also show that most complaints are still made through traditional channels, such as where the product had been purchased or through a customer service telephone number.

Most age groups, however, indicated an increased willingness to use social media to complain, with more than one-third of survey respondents more likely to use social media to complain to a company than a year ago.

“As people integrate the use of social media into their everyday lives, they are more likely to use these channels to interact with companies and brands,” said Ed Mitchell, chief underwriting officer – product recall, at XL Group.

“This is great for a company when it is getting ‘liked’, but when things go wrong – a large recall because there is a fault with a product, for instance – then a company needs to have the tools and capability to respond – fast. Not doing so can cost a firm the loyalty of its customers and its hard-earned reputation.”

Mitchell added that the survival of the product and the integrity of the brand can hinge on how a company manages and responds in such a situation.

The survey also suggests some companies can improve how they respond to their customers using social media. For instance, of those respondents who had complained via social media, 16pc said they “received no effective response” and others said they experienced a delayed response.

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Tina held senior editorial positions at daily newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto

editorial@siliconrepublic.com