Shape up your social media or we’ll go elsewhere, customers say » SMEInsider

Shape up your social media or we’ll go elsewhere, customers say

Businesses must embrace social media to maintain their reputation and keep customers happy.

That’s the message from findings of a survey of 1,000 consumers, which revealed that people are using social media more and more to communicate with businesses.

One in five (18 per cent) use the platform ahead of any other to complain, 14 per cent to make a booking, and 13 per cent to request information. Most notably, however, almost a third (29 per cent) would take their custom elsewhere if they were dissatisfied with the service they received.


Fewer phone calls and emails

The poll showed that social media is becoming consumers’ go-to method for contacting companies, ahead of the phone, email, web chat and face-to-face communication. To stay ahead of the game, therefore, businesses should be taking it seriously.

Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing at Echo Managed Services, the customer contact outsourcer that conducted the survey, said: “The findings of our research clearly demonstrate a consumer willingness to use social media in a variety of situations, perhaps most notably in complicated ones or when making a complaint.

“As issues raised through the channel can be unpredictable and played out in front of a potentially enormous public audience, it raises challenges.


Ignoring social media is “risky business”

“Ultimately, not prioritising social media as much as other communication channels is risky business for organisations and can potentially lead to reputational damage, and lost customers – especially considering the nature of enquiries coming through this channel.

“While those turning to social media first to communicate is far from the majority of customers, it’s now a sizeable enough number to mean that it can no longer be ignored by service providers.”