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Social Complaints on the Rise

By Feb 21, 2014

Social listening plays a huge role in data collection for brands, which can then be converted to successful marketing. But if brands aren’t managing customer complaints, that hard work could all be for naught. Here’s some troubling statistics: 26.1% of brands’ reputations have been tarnished as a result of negative social media posts; 15.2% lost customers and 11.4% lost revenue, according to a recent survey conducted by the Social Media Marketing University.

social listeningSome 58.2% of brands receive those customer complaints via social media “occasionally,” 10.9% “somewhat often” and 4.9% “very often.” Even worse, 26.1% of brands’ reputations have been tarnished because of negative social media posts; 15.2% lost customers and 11.4% lost revenue.

The problem? More than 50% of brands don’t have a strategy in place to manage this growing problem, while 24.5% say they are in the process of developing one and the 7.6% that do have one in place say it is ineffective.

“So many brands are buying into the ‘friending equals spending’ mentality,” says John Souza, founder of Social Media Marketing University. “They want the benefits of social media but aren’t truly aware of the investment of effort that’s required to see a return. As a result, this lack of effort rarely produces desired results and can lead to alienation of customers, fans and followers. It can even escalate to a backlash of negativity.”

Customers expect a response to a complaint posted on a brand’s social media account within one hour. The survey found that only 17.6% of brands strive to meet this expectation. Most brands (52.2%) respond within 24 hours. An alarming 21.4% rarely or never respond to customer complaints in social media.

These findings illustrate a widening gap between customer expectations in social media and a brand’s social practice, the survey said.

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  • Michael Unan

    While I’m not sure where these stats come from, I do agree that response-time expectations related to social media customer service are steadily increasing. On occasion, we’ve even see clients replying back to the business social media account in near real-time, turning a complaint on Twitter into a chat session. And the common 12 – 24 hour SLA that exists with many business e-mail customer service channels just doesn’t cut it with social media.