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SMEs lax in social media interaction

Only four in ten customer service complaints made on social media ever get a response, research finds.

Only four in ten customer service complaints made on social media ever get a response, research finds.

More than one in five (22 per cent) of consumers are now using tools like Twitter and Facebook to complain when a company delivers a disappointing customer experience, according to research by Sage of 2,000 consumers.

However, a further one in five (20 per cent) say it takes more than a week to get any sort of acknowledgment of their complaint.

Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic of Goldsmiths University in London, an international authority in personality and psychological profiling says that businesses shouldn’t fear complaints on social media. ‘Rather than having to second-guess customers that might simply have stayed quiet and walked away from a brand for good, the fact that these consumers are now finding a voice on social media gives companies the opportunity to engage with them directly, address their problem, learn from it, and in many cases turn a complainant into an advocate for the brand.'

He adds that companies cannot afford to ignore complaints or be slow to react. ‘Social media thrives on immediacy, so small issues can snowball very quickly if they are not responded to.’

A recent Omnibus survey by Sage found just 6 per cent of business owners are monitoring social media to better understand their customers. While 43 per cent of consumers believe the economic conditions have made it more important than ever for companies to go the extra mile for their customers, just 1 per cent of business owners see engaging with consumers on social media by responding to comments and criticisms as a key part of delivering this.

Gary Young, head of customer operations at Sage UK says, 'Customers are clearly using Twitter and Facebook a lot more frequently, but many businesses just aren’t ready to accept this shift yet. Companies need to understand this change in the way people are communicating and interacting and engage with their customers, respond to their questions and address their concerns.’

See also: SMEs lax on email

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