Complaining used to mean writing a letter or calling a company. But with millions of consumers now using Twitter or Facebook, social media is becoming a popular way to complain about poor customer service.
Research from online customer helpdesk Sirportly has found that more than half of customers under the age of 35 take to social media to complain about bad service. Across all ages, just over a third of customers complain on social platforms.
And with the popularity of online shopping growing every day, it makes sense that more of us try and resolve a customer service problem where we started – online.
A complaint in 140 characters
Contacting a company via social media can be an effective way of getting a direct response, as I’ve found in the past. However, sometimes your queries can go unanswered, which doesn’t give a good impression to unhappy customers. According to research from a different helpdesk, Conversocial, almost nine in 10 of us are less likely to buy from companies who ignore complaints on social media.
I once tweeted at high street retailer River Island about a pair of jeggings that were faulty. I asked if it had another size I could replace them with, but I failed to get a response. Not only did that leave me frustrated, but it also gave me the impression that the company wasn’t too fussed about my problem.
By contrast, when I tweeted Next about a delayed sofa delivery, it was quick to respond, apologised and offered to resolve the issue.
Now you might think it’s a trivial matter, but taking the time to reply and deal with my problem definitely put Next in my good books.
The impact of an unanswered complaint
I like to think that companies take complaints via social media seriously, but how do other shoppers feel about them?
If I were to spot several complaints on Facebook about a certain company, I’m not sure whether I’d actually be put off from using them, especially if they offered something very specific I wanted. I might just try my luck and hope that my experience would be better than those reported online.
Have you ever made a complaint via social media? Was it answered? If you saw others complaining about a company on Facebook and Twitter, would it put you off purchasing products from them?