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BizReport : Social Marketing : June 13, 2012

UK: Consumers turn to social for service but no-one's listening

When it comes to online customer service in the UK via social channels, it seems the lights are on but no-one's listening. Despite more customers turning to social media channels to air their complaints or ask questions, the vast majority of companies are turning a deaf ear, according to new research from Eptica.

by Helen Leggatt

eptica-logo.gifToday, businesses need to ensure their customer service is flexible, allowing for the seamless integration of new channels. This simply isn't happening in the case of social media.

New research from customer interaction management firm Eptica reveals that, while 26% of British and 31% of French consumers are complaining more now that they have social media channels to communicate with companies, few are getting the response they want.

The 2012 Eptica Social Customer Service Study of 2,000 people, split evenly between the UK and France, found that a whopping 83% of those that complained via social media were unhappy with the response. That's if they got a response at all - 17.5% of those complainants didn't.

"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," said Dee Roche, global marketing director, Eptica.

"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."

The fact is, social media isn't being integrated into customer service centers, certainly not at a rate matching that of consumer adoption. The channel now accounts for around 20% of consumer complaints. Industry analysts Gartner estimate that, by 2013, at least 35% of customer service centers will have integrated some sort of social capabilities as part of their solution.

Other research in the UK backs up Eptica's findings. Management consultants A T Kearney found that 36% of consumers in the UK, 18 million people, now use social media to 'talk' to companies, up from 19% eight months ago. Two-thirds (68%) say it allows them to find their voice and 65% say it's a better way to interact with companies than a call center.

As with Eptica's findings, A T Kearney's research revealed that 70% of complaints are going un-answered.

To learn how to future-proof your customer service, view Eptica's recent webcast.

Tags: customer engagement, customer service, France, research, social media, UK

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  • Ellen

    Shocking?  No.  Business as usual in the UK? Absolutely.
    Incidentally, they don't respond to emails, either.



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