Ignoring complaints on social media may be deafening your customers


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I read an article recently on TechRadar’s site (70% of customer complaints on social media ignored: Marketing ignores 70% of social media complaints). Now, if you go to the article you’ll find some really interesting data from some recent research. Here’s the points that stood out to me:

  • 36% of UK customers are using social media to try and contact and talk to businesses, up from 19% eight months ago.
  • 65% prefer to contact companies on social media rather than via a call centre.
  • Between 5% and 20% of all complaints to many organisations are made through social media.
  • However, 70% of complaints made on social media are going un-answered.

The last point, for me, is the most shocking particularly when you take into account much of the noise that is being made about making our businesses more social and the strategic importance of building better relationships with customers. I wrote about this last point before in Small business can and will win the race to focus on the customer.

What is happening? Well, the article goes on to explain that much of the lack of response is to do with the fact that the social media channels are being used for marketing (Read: one-way, broadcast marketing) and are not connected to the customer service teams.

Who’s fault is that? And, when did it become acceptable to ignore a complaint?

Companies may be using social media channels primarily as a broadcast marketing one-way channel. However, just because you designate the channel as such doesn’t mean that your customers will pay heed or attention to that.

The article goes on to quote Jim Close, managing director of Datapoint who says that:

“The delay in the use of social media in the contact centre is understandable, but this must now be rectified if many companies are to protect their reputations and keep their competitive edge.

I’m not sure the customer gets the ‘understandable’ bit. The customer doesn’t care about big data, social CRM systems, integration, etc etc. All they care about is having their query or complaint handled.

Now, I am not saying that businesses, where appropriate, should not look to capture the benefits of integrating social media data about customers into their CRM and customer service systems. Not at all.

But as I said before. The customer doesn’t want to wait and doesn’t care about your data, technology and inter-departmental, collaboration issues.

So, what to do?

Respond to the complaints as quickly.


Well, while you are figuring out some of the bigger issues, how about this:

  1. Create a new team or borrow a couple of people (2 people – one from marketing and one from customer service, say)
  2. Ask them to write some simple social media guidelines (not too complicated just a working set of Do’s and Don’ts)
  3. Pick the monitoring tools that you are going to use (Free ones should suffice to start with); and
  4. Then, let them get stuck in to the messages and complaints from customers

It’s a simple and, possibly, temporary solution. But, it’ll start to manage the complaints from your customers on social media and it’ll help manage your reputation whilst you are wrestling with bigger data and tech issues.

Otherwise, your absence from being social to complaints on social media may be deafening for your customers.

Thanks to woodleywonderworks for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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