As further evidence that customer complaints can’t be kept quiet in the digital age, new research from NewVoiceMedia, a leading provider of cloud contact centre technology, reveals that 32 percent of Australian consumers take their revenge online following inadequate customer service; spreading the complaint across their network and beyond.
Thanks to social media, internet forums and review channels, the modern consumer has a convenient public platform at their fingertips and will spread negative sentiment about a business without thinking twice. The survey of 2,004 adults from Australia showed that the figure soared to 53 percent among 16-24 year-olds – clearly demonstrating the generational importance of a channel that’s likely to explode in relevance as Gen Y consumers’ spending power increases.
While 89% of those surveyed stated that traditional forms of communication such as email and phone were their preferred means of complaining for a fast response, a quarter (25%) of Gen Y believe social media is the most effective means of issue resolution – five times that of the over 55s.
Facebook was voted the nation’s favourite social network for interacting with businesses. One respondent explained, “The company will realise the public is watching that mistake and try to improve it”. Another commented, “Naming and shaming can be the fastest way of getting a response”.
However, the significance consumers place on excellent service presents opportunities as well as threats, as organisations can boost their business by getting it right, even turning complainants into advocates by prioritising the service they receive through other channels. NewVoiceMedia offers social media routing through its cloud contact centre solution ContactWorld which integrates with salesforce.com and enables agents to identify callers with specific social media data before their call is answered, and prioritise accordingly.
While AUD$8 billion is lost by businesses in Australia each year as customers switch following poor experiences, 77 percent of respondents said that good service had a considerable influence on their loyalty. 76 percent would recommend the company to others, half (51%) would use the business more frequently and 35 percent are prepared to spend more money with them.
Jonathan Gale, CEO at NewVoiceMedia, who commissioned the research, comments, “Not long ago, customers would tell friends and family if they were dissatisfied with service they’d received. While this is damaging to a brand, it’s not nearly as powerful and immediate as customers who take their complaints online; particularly as consumers are increasingly turning online to read about others’ experiences before choosing a product or supplier. Over the next few years we expect to see these statistics soar as the younger generation matures.
“Customers want personalised and engaging experiences every time, through every channel. Great customer experience is the critical differentiator and by doing it well, organisations can drive the customer acquisition, retention and efficiency that make leading companies successful.”
For all the findings, download the research and infographic: