Why are companies still ignoring complaints on social media?

Recently, I had a frustrating customer service experience that is still, sadly, all-too-common. Last year, I bought a couple of pairs of pants from a brand that I had known to be very reliable and durable when I was younger. However, the fabric used now is flimsier than it used to be; barely more than a year later, one of those pairs of pants has worn through, and the other pair is on its last legs.

Annoyed, I took a photo of the holes and posted a complaint on Twitter, tagging the brand in question. That was more than two weeks ago, and I have yet to receive a response.

But how common is this sort of experience? 

Complaining on social media about bad customer service experiences or defective products has become extremely common. When surveyed, 46% of consumers (and 56% of millennials) said that they’ve used social media to “call out” a brand, and customer expectations for response times continue to rise. As of 2017, 84% of customers said that they expected a response to their complaint within 24 hours, and 76% of Twitter users said they expected a response within one hour.

The cost of being unresponsive on social media is clear. Customers expect fast responses to their complaints on social media. When their complaints are ignored, the chances are high that they will never do business with your company again. [source] But are companies actually responding to customer complaints on social?

While there hasn’t been any recent comprehensive research, a study in 2011 conducted by Maritz found that 71% of customer complaints on Twitter went unaddressed. When asked about the issue, a panel of social media experts in 2014 said that they didn’t feel that percentage had changed significantly.

It’s time to get serious about social

Your customers expect you to be responsive on social media, and are willing to take their business elsewhere if those expectations aren’t met; more than a third of customers will stop doing business with a brand that doesn’t respond to their social media complaint. Further, attracting new customers costs 5 times more than retaining existing customers, so it benefits you to get a social strategy in place if you don’t already have one.

Fortunately, there are benefits to social media customer service beyond simply avoiding customer churn. Customers whose complaints are addressed quickly and effectively over social media often are converted into loyal customers, and can subsequently become brand advocates.

Do you have questions about how to better integrate social media into your customer service? Contact us to speak to one of our digital engagement experts, or request a demo to see our digital customer service platform in action.

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About the Author: Anna Kreider