Businesses are failing to react to social media feedback

Businesses are failing to react to social media feedback
Businesses are ignoring negative comments on Facebook

A new survey shows businesses are failing to respond to customer suggestions and customer feedback from social media, with only John Lewis, Waitrose and B&Q receiving positive scores

Brands are ignoring priceless advice offered by consumers on Twitter and Facebook, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by social media monitoring company Brandwatch.

The online study, which questioned over 2,000 British consumers on brand interaction, found that half (50%) of respondents actually complain because they want companies to learn from their mistakes.

Only three of the 40 brands analysed emerged with a score above zero – indicating that their customer service experience was successful overall. In fact, over half (52%) of all customer service experiences were classified as negative.

The finding countered the misconception that peoples' main reason for making a complaint is to embarrass brands publically, with only 17% stating they complain about a brand for this reason.

John Lewis, Waitrose and B&Q were the clear winners, with the retail sector as a whole emerging as the top performer over the four-month evaluation period.

Three of the worst perceived brands were the telecoms providers Virgin Media, Vodafone and TalkTalk.

Businesses have not improved on 2011 results

The findings form part of Brandwatch's Customer Service Index (CSI) 2012, their annual report into social media customer service. The CSI 2012 study found that although brands have had a year to learn from the lessons offered by social media feedback, customer satisfaction levels still have not improved.

"Some people just love to complain – you can't get away from that fact. But what our results also show is that consumers are sharing information via social media because they genuinely want brands to be better at what they do. The problem comes when brands think they know best. They're behaving a bit like teenagers, and being too petulant to actually see what's in front of them," said Giles Palmer, Founder and CEO of Brandwatch.

"Speed isn't enough. Too often, when faced with a negative comment brands are too quick to ping back an automated message. Perhaps this is the industry's fault for placing too much emphasis on speed of response. It's not about speed: it's about understanding what your customers are taking the time to tell you, learning lessons, and acting on this feedback."

Additionally the survey also revealed a few other statistics about how UK customers approach online;

  • 36% of online respondents who interact with brands on the internet do so to complain
  • 27% of UK adults online interact with brands on the internet at least once a month
  • 26% of UK adults online share information about things they buy online
  • 19% of UK adults online discuss what they think about brands