A new study confirms a trend I wrote about earlier this year: More and more consumers are turning to social media to voice complaints or concerns about products/services when prior attempts to do so via phone or email do not produce results. Moreover, they now expect even faster responses.
The survey of nearly 600 adult Americans conducted by Conversocial reveals just how strongly consumers feel about a company’s level of engagement via social media. Most strikingly, nearly 90 percent of respondents indicated they would be less likely to purchase from a company that ignored their social media complaints. And yet, despite such a high demand for responsiveness, many companies are clearly missing the boat when it comes to social media customer service—over 50 percent of those surveyed indicated that the service they received via social media was either “mediocre” or “disappointing.”
“While consumers are becoming more accustomed to using social media in communicating with companies and their brands, too many companies are struggling to meet high expectations for quick and satisfactory responses,” said Conversocial CEO, Joshua March. “This research reflects the mixed experiences consumers are having, shining a spotlight on the discrepancies in performance among many companies in the same sector.”
Just how high are consumers’ expectations? According to the survey:
- Nearly 30 percent responded that they expect a response to a social media complaint the same day, with one in six feeling they should hear back from the company within 10 minutes.
- More than 20 percent said they tried to contact a company via their mobile device while they were still in the store.
- Unlike other B2C social media studies, there was little variation in responses to this survey by age or gender.
Conversocial also asked for feedback on specific industries and companies. Department stores and restaurant chains rated most favorably, as opposed to telecommunications companies, supermarkets and banks, which ranked low. Surprisingly, some brands you might expect to realize the value of social media engagement, such as McDonalds, Apple and Walmart, received less favorable ratings than others, such as Subway, Best Buy and Target.
As social media use continues to evolve and grow, engagement with customers across social platforms will become more and more critical to business success. Marketers must learn to leverage social networks to improve the customer experience and enhance customer service –even in real-time.
“The conversations a company has with its customers via social media truly represent its brand, often at the very dynamic moment when point-of-purchase decisions are being played out,” March concluded. “The results of the survey reveal that ignoring or delaying a response to complaints and questions have consequences among the buying public.”