Is Social Media Responsible for Declining Customer Service Satisfaction?


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According to Accenture’s 2009 survey of customer satisfaction with customer service, only 40% are satisfied with the service they’re receiving. Of course, without seeing the questions or knowing the scoring method applied, that means little in absolute terms – except that 2008’s number was 45% and 2007’s 53%. And considering the survey’s “n” was 5,000, these variances are statistically significant. Customers’ satisfaction with the service they’re receiving is down significantly over the past two years.

Is this about social media?

The question is, “Why?” By giving customers opportunities to vent and share their dissatisfactions, is social media accentuating negative aspects of service. Or have recession layoffs triggered the satisfaction plunge. Or are customers expecting more? Or are other factors at work.

Without conducting primary research myself, I can’t confidently say these are the only possibilities. But now that I’ve lured at least some readers into the story by including “social media” in the title, I will share my opinion that social media matters about as much here as a pimple on the face of humanity. Hey, I love social media, at least Linkedin. And we profit from it. But knee-jerk supporters are getting dangerous close to giving SM credit for sliced white bread – the stuff that probably caused the pimple on the face of humanity.

Then what is it about?

The default opinion is certainly the economy. And no doubt that’s the case for customers in industries where service cutbacks have been common. However, based on two decades plus monitoring customer behavior in the marketplace, I’d say “the recession” has powerful competition for being the root cause.

Today, as we approach 2010, customer expectations are growing at an awesome rate (if you’re a seller, at an alarming rate). We are not 2008 customers. We know we have many sellers, even whole industries, in a tight spot. They need us more than we need them. So we demand more and more. And after the treatment we’ve received at the hands of financial services companies, health insurance companies, through-the moon prices “star chef” restaurants, Needless Markup fashion stores, exorbitant consulting and legal fees and the like – we’re up for turning the tables. Most customers would not say they’re extracting “revenge,” but that’s exactly what many are subconsciously doing.

Why is distinguishing this phenomenon from direct recession affects on service so important? Because the recession will go away…eventually, unless we do something really stupid with the economy. But customer empowerment and increasing customer demands on companies aren’t going away. Not for the foreseeable future.

A whole lotta companies don’t get this. They’re going to be blindsided. And some will become victims of the recovery.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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