Consumer woes and Christmas wishes

Posted on 23. Dec, 2011 by in Digital Marketing

For many consumers online shopping is now as integral to the Christmas experience as mince pies and mistletoe. But with only a few days to go until the big day, the familiar concerns of shopping online for that all important gift start to arise: Will it arrive on time? Will it be in one piece? Will it fit the description?

In the days of old (say… 2007) a delayed or damaged parcel would result in a sternly worded email or a profanity-filled phone conversation, but the advent period of 2011 has seen a more vocal, more empowered consumer discussing their Christmas woes – the social media user.

A growing trend…


The past year has seen a rise in consumers revealing their frustrations at brands by both direct and indirect means on social media channels. A Sage UK survey published in The Drum earlier this month highlighted that one in five customers now use social media to complain to companies about poor quality services or products, with Facebook and Twitter being the frustration outlets of choice. Even this week we’ve seen reports of Sony’s apologies following the high number of posts to Twitter and YouTube from Japanese consumers surrounding issues with their newly launched PlayStation Vita.

But despite this growing trend, many companies are reluctant to engage with disgruntled users on these platforms.  A study published in September by Maritz demonstrated this with the shocking revelation that of nearly 1300 consumers who used Twitter to lodge a complaint, 71% never heard back. In addition, a Social Baker’s survey discussed by Econsultancy this autumn highlight that on average companies only respond to 5% of all their Facebook Wall questions. Some consumers are already becoming demoralized by the situation, with only 49% of those questioned expecting a company to read a complaint directed at them on Twitter.

Naughty or nice?

With the results of ignoring social media complaints being not only a loss of the individual consumer’s faith and future custom but also a growing negative brand image, we wonder why brands are still reluctant to jump on the bandwagon (or perhaps the Christmas sleigh?) and become part of the conversation.

As popular travel blog discussed recently, the advantages to engaging with upset users online are strong, with 83.5% of people who had their complaints answered expressing approval or delight towards the companies which replied to them [Martiz] and online influencers frequently blogging or talking about positive customer relations experiences they’d had with brands via social media.

A Christmas wish

This year I’m wishing that more companies will include improving customer relations via social media on their list of New Year’s Resolutions. With consumers being 88% less likely to buy from companies who ignore complaints in social media, [Conversocial] and Google introducing its own trustmarks scheme surrounding customer experience, I just hope Father Christmas is listening…

Merry Christmas.

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