According to an article titled Silent majority risk worse customer service as companies monitor Twitter, Facebook in the Telegraph in the UK, a negative review on social media sites by an unhappy consumer can lose companies as much as 30 other customers according research by information management firm Convergys.
The review may be on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Users can check reviews both from their PCs and their mobile phones and that could impact a business that is not paying attention to customer satisfaction, in a substantial way.
There is even a risk that consumers who don’t use social media to express their discontent, (ie those who use phone or mail)will actually get inferior service as they are not as public and possibly viral as traditional ways of expressing dissatisfaction with an organization. Their complaint may be considered to be ‘less important’.
Christopher Rawlings, head of strategy at Consumer Focus, warned firms not to neglect consumers who “cannot access, or are simply not interested in using, the likes of Twitter or Facebook”.
If the old techniques of complaining and getting resolution are perceived to be ineffective, I believe that consumer groups will arise to fill the gap or governments will start intervening.
Younger adults and teens that adopts new technologies quickly are at an advantage over older adults who have not learned how to use new internet technologies.
Some other interesting facts in the Convergys research:
1. One third of people who have experienced poor customer service share it on the internet.
2. Each post on social media reaches, on average, 45 users. (note, some will reach millions such as the Youtube Video United Breaks Guitars )
3. 62% of those who had heard a bad story about an organization would stop doing business with them.
One trend being forecast by Derek Bishop, managing director of Abeo Consulting, is that consumers may be less tolerant of poor service, now that consumers have more power with robust ways to spread the word about bad experiences. This could impact the upcoming Christmas shopping season. “Customers simply don’t have the time, money or inclination to deal with poor levels of service this year.”
It has always been a uneven power position for companies over consumers. In the past, word of mouth was limited to who the person knew and the impact of their friends. So companies had all the power. With social media, blogs, complaint sites and complaint aggregators and Google Sidewiki, that has all changed.
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