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Thought leadership

Brands are ignoring 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 more than 2,000 British consumers on brand interaction, found that half (50 percent) of respondents complain because they want companies to learn from their mistakes rather than because they want to embarrass brands publically – only 17 percent say they complain about a brand for this reason.

Brandwatch’s annual Customer Service Index 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. Only three of the 40 brands analyzed emerged with a score above zero, indicating that their customer service experience was successful overall. More than half (52 percent) of all customer service experiences were classified as negative.

John Lewis, Waitrose and B&Q were the top performers over the four-month evaluation period. Three of the worst perceived brands were the telecoms providers Virgin Media, Vodafone and TalkTalk.

Other findings include:

• More than a third (36 percent) of online respondents who interact with brands on the internet do so to complain

• 27 percent of UK adults online interact with brands on the internet at least once a month

• 44 percent of respondents who interact with brands on the internet use online interactions to request information

• More than a quarter (26 percent) of UK adults online share information about things they buy online

• Almost one fifth (19 percent) of UK adults online discuss what they think about brands

“Some people just love to complain; you can’t get away from that fact,” says Giles Palmer, founder and CEO of Brandwatch. “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.

“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.”

 

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