The 2012 Eptica Social Customer Service Study study which surveyed 2,000 customers in the UK and France found businesses are deaf to social media, even though social media is creating more complaints than ever.
I'd like to register a complaint
Over a quarter of consumers in the UK (26%) are complaining more now, because of social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, but 83% of those that complained were unhappy with the response they received, and nearly one in five (17.5%) didn't get a response at all.
The most complained about sectors in the UK were retail (21%) and banks (19%), however there were some large variations when the complaints were broken down by region. Nearly a third (33%) of those in Northern Ireland criticised telecoms companies, about one in five (18%) Welsh consumers complained about local government, and 14% of those in the South East criticised train companies.
Businesses are not listening
The survey found that businesses are even failing to answer basic questions (rather than complaints) on social media, more than four out of five (81%) didn't get an answer to questions asked on social media.
When asked why they used social media to complain, nearly a quarter (22%) of people said they believed they would receive a quicker response – but they are being let down by businesses. The research found that companies are ignoring simple questions as well as complaints – four out of five consumers (81%) didn't get an acceptable answer to their questions asked on social media.
"Customers are embracing social media for customer service – but the vast majority of companies are deaf to what they are saying," said Dee Roche, global marketing director, Eptica. "Our research uncovered a real desire by consumers to use the speed and immediacy of social media to interact with companies only to see their requests shockingly ignored. Not answering basic questions is essentially slamming the shop door in the face of potential customers. Social media provides a megaphone through which complaints aired by unhappy customers can quickly escalate. Companies need to put in place a proper strategy for social customer service, before consumers vote with their feet."
Customer services takes responsibility
When asked who should be responsible for social customer service, consumers overwhelming selected customer service departments (68%), followed by almost a fifth (19%) who believed that the answers should be provided by the wider social media community.