Majority of Social Media Complaints Falling on Deaf Ears

By Beecher Tuttle May 22, 2012

Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are commonly utilized by consumers to "talk" to companies, but that doesn't mean that anyone is listening.

Two recent U.K. studies paint an interesting picture of frequent social media hiccups that may be harming the reputation of companies that haven't yet fine-tuned their strategies.

Tech Radar reports on a new Fishburn Hedges and Echo Research study, which found that 36 percent of U.K. consumers converse with companies over social media, up nearly two fold from the previous year. A whopping 65 percent of respondents said that social media is a better communication outlet than the traditional call center.

But what happens when a consumer uses their social media account to complain rather than to converse? More often than not, their message falls on deaf ears.

A separate A T Kearney study found that, 70 percent of all complaints issued to a company through one of its social media outlets go unanswered. The most common reason for the lack of response is because companies are still positioning social media as a marketing tool. Most companies have yet to integrate their social media accounts with their customer service departments.

The concern is exacerbated by the fact that as many as 20 percent of all complaints are issued through social media accounts.  

"The fact that so many brands are failing to recognize social media in their customer service strategies is a clear signal that they are finding it difficult to move beyond a simple broadcast mode of marketing to one based on dialogue," Marin Hill-Wilson of Brainfood Consulting told Call Center Focus.

"Social media is a two-way street – when you communicate your marketing message out to your customers, you had better be ready to listen to their reply; it will lose you business if you don’t," Hill-Wilson added.

Another common issue is that consumers often use social media tools after-hours, when customer service departments are closed.

Jim Close, managing director of Datapoint, tells Tech Radar that companies should look to invest in software that integrates social media into traditional complaint resolution channels.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributor

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