Companies, watch out: One in five disgruntled consumers turn to social media like Facebook and Twitter to complain

Clara Guibourg
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Couple in heated argument
"Issues can be played out in front of a potentially enormous public audience" (Source: Getty)

Companies, watch out: in the 21st century, if you displease your customers there is every chance the world is hearing about it.

Forget keeping arguments behind closed doors. Our fights with brands are increasingly going public, as new research has found that nearly one in five disgruntled consumers now turn to social media as their first port of call to voice their complaints.

Brands’ social media accounts are quickly taking precedence over email, chats or even the humble phone call. Where once we might have picked up the phone when dissatisfied or bewildered by a product or service, we’re now turning to Facebook or Twitter.

Some 18 per cent of those polled admitted that it was their first choice, according to the survey by Echo Managed Services. Even more surprisingly, perhaps, another brave 14 per cent turn to it first even in an emergency, for instance a flight getting cancelled.

Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing at Echo, argued that companies should let their customer services staff man social media accounts, rather than the marketing team:

As issues raised through the channel can be unpredictable and played out in front of a potentially enormous public audience, it raises challenges in terms of who within an organisation manages social media.

Cullen said that customer service teams are “experts in handling multi-channel customer enquiries day in day out” but added that in an ideal world the two should work closely together to respond to feedback on social media.

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