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Study: Most brands not prepared to manage customer complaints in social media Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Monday, 24 February 2014 05:26 PM America/New_York


Most brands don’t have a strategy in place to manage customer complaints in social media, despite being plagued by negative posts by customers, competitors and employees, according to a survey conducted by Social Media Marketing University (SMMU).

Of the brands surveyed, 58.2% receive customer complaints via social media “occasionally,” 10.9% receive them “somewhat often” while 4.9% receive them “very often.” More than a quarter (26.1%) of brands’ reputations have been tarnished as a result of negative social media posts, with 15.2% losing customers and 11.4% suffering declining revenue.

Nearly a quarter (23.4%) of brands not only do not have a strategy in place to manage negative social commentary, but also have no plans to develop one. Only 24.5% of brands are in the process of developing a strategy, while 7.6% have strategies in place that are proving to be ineffective. 

“So many brands are buying into the ‘friending equals spending’ mentality,” said John Souza, founder of SMMU. “They want the benefits of social media, but aren’t truly aware of the investment of effort that’s required to see a return.

“As a result, this lack of effort rarely produces desired results and can lead to alienation of customers, fans and followers,” he added. “It can even escalate to a backlash of negativity.”

A recent survey conducted by The Social Habit found that 42% of customers expect a response to a complaint posted on a brand’s social media account within one hour. The SMMU survey found that only 17.6% of brands strive to meet this expectation. Most brands (52.2%) respond within 24 hours. An alarming 21.4% rarely or never respond to customer complaints in social media. These findings illustrate a widening gap between customer expectations in social media and brands’ social practice.