Brands Slow to Respond to Complaints Posted on Social Media

by MarketingCharts staff

In fact, fewer than 1 in 5 respondents said they respond to complaints within an hour. And although a slight majority do so within 24 hours, more than 1 in 5 say they rarely – if ever – respond to customer complaints made via social.

Those brands could be in for an earful from customers: a recent survey from Millward Brown Digital commissioned by Lithium Technologies discovered that a slight majority of Twitter users who expect brands to respond to their tweets feel that those responses should come in less than an hour. When there’s a complaint involved, 72% demand a quick response. The punishment for those brands that can’t meet those expectations? 6 in 10 will “take unpleasant actions to express their dissatisfaction,” with those actions including shaming the brand on social media.

Indeed, about one-quarter of the brands responding to the SMMU survey said that their reputations had been tarnished due to negative social media posts. A significant portion also said they had lost customers (15.2%) and revenue (11.4%).

These results stem from a lack of strategy to deal with complaints: almost 1 in 4 respondents said they do not have a strategy in place to manage negative social comments – and that they do not have plans to develop one. Another 1 in 4 are developing a strategy, while 8% have strategies that aren’t proving to be effective. In other words, only a minority at best have effective strategies in place.

The study brings to mind a similar one conducted a couple of years ago by Ethical Corporation and Useful Social Media. That research found that of the companies surveyed that had been subject to social media criticism, fully 72% rated their preparedness as average or below, with 20% being completely unprepared.

About the Data: The SMMU survey was conducted from February 10-13, 2014. There were 1,036 respondents, including marketers, social media professionals, C-level executives and business owners/entrepreneurs. The survey was distributed via email using Survey Gizmo.