Is Social Media The New Customer Complaints Department?

According to a study conducted by Echo Managed Services, a leading customer contact outsourcer, more consumers are turning to social media to voice their complaints than ever before.

The study has shown that almost a fifth of people now turn to social media before any other channel to voice their complaints. They are even choosing to discuss complicated matters on social media rather than simply putting a phone call into a company to make a personal complaint, and have their issues resolved directly over the phone, or in person face-to-face.

That is almost one in five people, or 18%, actively using social media as their first point of contact. This is the same for situations you may describe as a crisis, such as when a flight is cancelled, and customers will turn to social media to request up to date information about the cancellation, and to ask about alternative arrangements. A further 14% will then go on to make another booking.

So sensitive and reactive are customers becoming to lodging complaints through social media that 29% – that is almost one in three – will seek to move their custom to another provider if they experience poor service.

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Are You Being Responsive Enough On Social Media?

The experts behind the Echo survey are urging businesses to look closely at how they operate their social media contact, and to make sure that they reassess and address issues quickly to avoid loss of custom. They advise business owners and managers to have a dedicated person or team that is responsible and capable enough to handle customer enquiries and complaints quickly, and as efficiently as possible. Preferably handled by their own customer service staff rather than their social media marketing team.

What this research has shown is a growing willingness for customers to use social media across a variety of ways and in different situations. Business owners and managers are now starting to witness an evolution where customers are no longer using their company Facebook and Twitter pages to simply keep up with the latest news, or pick up on a special offer. They are now turning to social media to have more urgent matters resolved, and to get instant responses to their complaints.

Damaging Your Business Reputation

Because social media platforms are so incredibly open, a customer can now play out their complaint if front of a public audience. This makes it imperative for businesses to have a sound structure in place about how they handle their social media. How damaging would it be to your reputation if you left a disgruntled customer hanging for days because you only monitored your business social media sites two or thee days per week?

This can be particularly tricky for the small business owner or single entrepreneur who does not possess enough staff to cover all bases, or has the sole responsibility for managing every single aspect of the business. In these circumstances it can be nearly impossible to ensure consistent customer service across all communication channels.

Not prioritising social media as much as the ringing telephone, or your email inbox can be risky. There is great potential for loss of customers as well as damage to your hard-earned efforts towards building your online reputation if you fail to respond quickly and effectively to your social media queries and complaints.

While it is easy to ignore social media chatter when your telephone is ringing off the hook, and new email message alerts are pinging in your ear, your Facebook and Twitter followers are now becoming too savvy to be put as low priority on your list.

Many companies are experiencing social media queries in such a sizeable number these days that they can no longer be ignored for very long. According to media experts, this trend is set to continue and grow at a rapid rate over the coming years as more customers are coming online, and the use of telephone land lines and face-to-face contact continue to decline.

Can Outsourcing Help You?

Outsourcing is becoming more popular than ever for small business owners. When you are spending all your available time working hard to build up your business and run it efficiently on a day-to-day basis, there can be little time available to spend hanging around on your social media sites having meaningful conversations with your online followers.

Outsourcing your social media marketing as well as customer care is fast becoming an essential lifeline in these cases, so it is worth considering when there is an ever-growing risk of having your business reputation damaged by customer complaints in such an open manner.

If you are struggling with other issues concerning your business other than social media, and you actually quite like communicating with your followers on Facebook and Twitter etc. then freeing up your time in other areas could be a way forward. This could be done by hiring a freelance bookkeeping service or accountant to take care of your books and paperwork, or by outsourcing your admin duties, cash flow or HR to specialist companies to take care of for you.

Maybe you are not the best at organising your workload, or struggle to prioritise your projects? It could be that you simply need a little help and guidance to sort out your time-management issues.

We can all feel a little overwhelmed sometimes, so even if you cannot quite put your finger on where you need help the most with your business, it would be worth having a consultation with us to see if we can help to pinpoint the areas that need addressing the most.

Why not schedule a consultation today to help you have a better 2016.

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