Business development · 6 January 2016

Social media: Why more consumers go online to complain

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Consumers are increasingly using social media to submit complaints

An increasing number of consumers are using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to voice concerns and submit complaints when buying, a recent survey has found.

Signalling that small businesses can no longer ignore the need to harness the power of social media for customer service, 18 per cent of consumers now make online platforms the first port of call to highlight a complaint or worry.

Similarly, 14 per cent of consumers surveyed said they would use social media first in a crisis situation such as a flight being cancelled, whereas 13 per cent would use it to request information from a business.

One in three respondents of the survey conducted by outsourcing firm Echo Managed Systems said they would take their custom elsewhere if they encountered poor service from a business.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, head of marketing at Echo Managed Systems Chris Cullen warned that businesses should prioritise social media as much as other communication channels to avoid reputational damage and lost customers. “Customer service must be consistent across all communication channels,” he said.

“Due to the variety of queries coming through social media, it should be developed to be as broad as possible and not just rely on stock answers to popular questions, which is unfortunately sometimes the case with social media management,” he added.

Social networks are increasingly making it easier for small businesses to communicate with customers and target new ones. Last month, Business Advice reported on Facebook’s launch of a new suite of communications tools for small businesses. The world’s most widely used and recognised social network now has over 50m firms worldwide conducting business via its Pages function.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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