Customer Care Survey Reveals Just 5% Complain via Social Media

Twitter complaint

It’s always nice to receive a UK-focused social media report, so I was pleased to read a new survey from eGain into how British consumers prefer to make complaints.

It’s not quite what I expected though.  Apparently, while more than 60% of 18-35 year olds prefer to complain via an online channel, email continues to dominate as the online complaints channel of choice. Just 5% of 18-35 year olds complain via social media (Twitter or Facebook).

eGain seems to find that number impressive – but it seems quite low to me, given how much more effective complaining via social media can be than sending an email or battling through a call centre.

Remember: 50% of the UK population is on Facebook and 58% of them log into Facebook every day for an average of 25 mins.

That said, another recent survey indicated that 70% of companies still ignore complaints by Twitter. Astounding, really.

Here’s eGain’s own summary:

  • Social media makes its mark – 5% of 18-35 year olds use Twitter or Facebook before resorting to any other means of communication.
  • Email reigns supreme – 47% of UK consumers will go online (email and web chat) to complain about a product or service rather than choose traditional methods of placing a phone call (33%) or writing a letter (17%). Email proved the most popular channel with 3 out of 4 consumers selecting email as a top two preference.
  • Generation gap – Despite the rise of the silver surfer, 18-35 year olds are almost twice as likely to use the web as their first port of call to make a complaint (61%) compared to those aged 55 or older. Traditional forms of communication (letter, phone call) become significantly more popular in older age groups.

The question of who matters most also gets another airing with this survey. Andrew Mennie, GM (EMEA) at eGain is quoted as saying: “a small number of vociferous users can have a disproportionately loud voice and viral visibility in social networks. However, we’d advise organisations not to panic and take a systematic approach in picking whom, when and how to respond”.

This is sound advice, though it’s still difficult to imagine that a company would react with equal speed to a demand for help from @chrisbrogan (200k followers) as they would from my wife (12 followers). Then again, you never know whose wife, husband, mother or best friend you’re keeping waiting while you jump to resolve the problems of a “vociferous, loud and viral” influencer.

Our Social Times is running an unique series of Social Customer engagement and Social CRM events in the UK, France, Belgium and Germany in 2012. Find out more on our Events page.

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