Social Media is the New Customer Complaint Hotline
Social media is becoming the new customer service hotline and consumers are becoming increasingly more likely to use it to call out brands for bad behavior.
And unlike the old days, a mailed or called customer complaint can’t get buried where no one can see it. The nature of social media means that a public complaint can get a lot of mileage.
According to Sprout Social:
“The prevalence of social media now ensures that every unhelpful, insensitive or downright inappropriate interaction has the potential to go viral for the world to see. And we’ve all seen the aftermath.”
The aftermath, if you’re lucky, is that your brand takes a hit; if you’re not so lucky, your company’s finances take a hit and you lose customers. Those customers may never come back.
And when brands don’t respond at all, well, that’s like pouring gasoline on the fire; it tells customers you don’t care what they have to say, which makes them even madder.
“Onlookers wait to see how you react, and your response tells them whether they can trust your brand,” Jay Baer of Convince and Convert wrote in Forbes. “Staying silent makes a bad situation worse, although that doesn’t stop one-third of all complaints from going unanswered. It can also take a heavy toll on customer advocacy—the Net Promoter Score of customers who don’t receive a reply to social media comments drops by 43 percent.”
Think of that: One-third of all complaints on social media go unanswered. And that’s bad. As Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media says, “A brand not responding on Twitter is like hanging up the phone on customers. With millions watching.”
So while consumers’ readiness to use social media to complain can be a bad thing for businesses, it does mean that brands will have to become more responsive to consumer complaints. After all, according to Sprout Social, 81% say that social media has increased accountability for businesses, and can be used to both to uncover bad behavior and to amplify it when it happens. In the end that’s good for business, because when brands respond quickly and appropriately and show customers they care, and when companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers, on average, end up spending 20% to 40% more with the company.
Take a look at how, where, and when consumers complain on social media. (click image to expand).
Statistics courtesy of Sprout Social.