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BizReport : Social Marketing : December 19, 2011

1 in 5 Brits voice complaints via social media

Reserved Brits who fear confrontation have taken to social media to voice their complaints, according to new research, but less than half get a response.

by Helen Leggatt business software firm Sage UK surveyed 2,000 British consumers they found one in five (22%) turned to social media to make a complaint about poor customer service.

According to psychological profiling expert Dr. Thomas Charmorro-Premuzic of Goldsmiths University in London, "Complaining effectively isn't something that comes easily to British consumers, who are naturally quite reserved. Social media makes the process of complaining a lot less confrontational, so it's no surprise respondents to our research are embracing the channel so readily".

However, despite this change in consumer behavior, it would seem few businesses are actively monitoring their social media channels or engaging with them. Less than half (40%) of those who turned to the likes of Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustrations received a response, found the survey.

"To put our research into perspective, if you have one thousand customers with an axe to grind, at least 220 of them with make their complaints public on social media," said Gary Young, head of customer operations at Sage UK.

"When you also consider that the average Twitter user has 27 followers, it's easy to see why companies should be taking this seriously. If you have a Twitter account for your business you need to be using it well. There's no point paying lip service to social media, you need to be actively listening and responding to customers."

Earlier this year research by EPiServer found that while only 28% of businesses in the UK currently employ someone to manage and monitor social media activity that figure could rise to 69% within the next year as 41% consider getting someone onboard.

Tags: complaint, consumer behavior, customer insight, customer service, research, social media, social trends, UK

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