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Twitter Users Want Brands to Respond to Their Complaints

October 5, 2011

Twitter users who use the microblogging platform to lodge complaints about bad customer experiences say they expect companies to read and respond to their complaints, according to a poll from Maritz Research. Most companies, however, don't appear to be listening.

Among frequent Twitter users* age 18 and older who have issued a complaint to a company via Twitter, roughly one-half say they expect their tweets to be read.

Expectations are even higher among older users: 57.02% of those age 45-54 and 64.89% of those age 55+ expect their tweeted complaints to be read: 

Below, additional findings from a study by Maritz Research and its social intelligence arm, evolve24.

But few companies appear to be listening. Among Twitter users who have issued a complaint to a company via Twitter, only (33%) say they have received some type of follow-up to their complaint. 

Among those who have received responses to their complaints:

  • 83% say they liked or loved hearing from the company they had complained about; only 3% didn't like or hated hearing from the company.
  • 75% were very or somewhat satisfied with the company's response; only 15% were very or somewhat dissatisfied with the response. 

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Older age groups are more likely to want responses from companies, whereas younger age groups are more likely to be indifferent:

  • 91.5% of those age 45-54 and 92.6% of those age 55+ say they would like it or love it if the company contacted them regarding a tweeted complaint, compared with 79.8% of those age 18-24.
  • 17.7% of those age 18-24 and 12.3% of those age 25-34 say it doesn't matter if a company responds to their complaints, compared with 7.3% of those age 45-54 and 5.9% of those age 55+ who say the same.

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  • by Babar Bhatti Wed Oct 5, 2011 via web

    Customer Service is one of the most popular use cases of social media. I wrote about the 5 important metrics for social media customer service here:

    - Babar

  • by Nick Stamoulis Thu Oct 6, 2011 via web

    Some companies don't feel comfortable talking with customers via Twitter and that's fine! But they should be using Twitter to set up the initial contact and then direct them to the next step (like calling the company). Sometimes a problem can't be fixed in 140 characters.

  • by Steve Thu Oct 6, 2011 via web

    Nick - you are right - some brands don't like to talk directly with customers. Those brands will NOT survive. Period. Their customers are asking for a conversation either to fix an issue or to get some information. If they ignore them, then why are they in business?

    A great tactic for brands is to set up a email address just for use in social media. This makes it easy to change in case the need arises. But what it also does, is it provides an easy way for anyone managing social media platforms to invite further conversation off line where the issue can be resolved.

    For example, a twitter response might be as simple as "We're sorry to hear about your experience. Please email us at so we can help?"

    What this does is let's the customer know that you are listening and care about them, gets the conversation off line in case they are emotional, vulgar or combative and allows the customer to vent in as many characters as possible.

    Plus, once you get their real contact information (email, name, etc), you can forward the email to customer service professionals who are trained to resolve customer issues. A great feature if you are using someone other than a customer service professional to monitor your social media streams.

    twitter: @eyebrand

  • by Patricia Mon Oct 10, 2011 via web

    This is great info. Companies seem to be only thinking about social media in terms of leads gen rather than customer service – which can turn into leads if done right.

    What tools are people using for social media response management?

  • by Babar Bhatti Mon Oct 10, 2011 via web

    Patricia - At MutualMind we've helped many companies with efficiently managing customer service on social channels. MutualMind provides both listening and response management so our clients stay on top of what people are saying about them and participate in conversations as needed.


  • by MIchael Bitter Mon Oct 10, 2011 via web

    Patricia - a great point... There is an emerging set of tools and practices surrounding social media based customer service, technical support known as social media response management...

    Bottom line - a different tool set and approach is needed to effectively AND efficiently manage the increasing volumes and changing response/response time expectations...

    Traditional social media management tools unfortunately fall short...

    Check out this blog post for a good overview of what social media response management is, why it's needed, and how it differes from other types of social media tools...

  • by Patricia Mon Oct 10, 2011 via web

    Michael & Babar

    Thanks for the post. I'll check out both programs I've heard this topic refered to as SMRM - social media response management. Is that correct wordage and acronym?

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