Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

More complaints but fewer answers

More than a quarter of consumers say they complain more now that they can use social media to communicate with companies

Britons are using social media to make more complaints but say companies are turning a deaf ear to them, according to a survey.

More than a quarter of consumers (26%) say they complain more now that they can use social media to communicate with companies, the poll for call centre software provider Eptica found.

But 83% of them report being unhappy with the response they received, while 17.5% say they did not get a reply at all.

The survey of 2,000 French and British consumers found those in the UK use social media to complain mostly about retailers (21%) and banks (19%), while 33% of those in Northern Ireland criticised telecoms companies and 18% of the Welsh complained about local government.

Scots were most likely to find fault with gas companies (15%) and 14% of those in the South East criticised train companies.

Almost a quarter of consumers (22%) said they used social media to get a quicker response, but four out of five consumers (81%) said they did not get an acceptable answer to their questions.

Eptica global marketing director Dee Roche said: "Customers are embracing social media for customer service but the vast majority of companies are deaf to what they are saying. Our research uncovered a real desire by consumers to use the speed and immediacy of social media to interact with companies only to see their requests shockingly ignored.

"Not answering basic questions is essentially slamming the shop door in the face of potential customers. Social media provides a megaphone through which complaints aired by unhappy customers can quickly escalate. Companies need to put in place a proper strategy for social customer service, before consumers vote with their feet."

Nearly a third of French consumers (31%) complained more through social media, with targets including banks (24%), mobile phone networks (20%), and retailers (18%).

Toluna Quick surveyed 1,000 UK consumers and 1,000 French consumers online on May 28 and 29.

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