Don’t ignore your customers who tweet

If you’ve ever vented some feelings on Twitter about your negative experience with a company, and felt you were ignored, a survey from the US will probably resonate with you.

It suggests that over 70 percent of consumer complaints made on Twitter are ignored by the companies concerned.


Research firm Maritz Research carried out the research in September when it surveyed an online panel of 1,298 US consumers who had pre-identified themselves as Twitter users who frequently tweet, had complained via Twitter about a company with whom they do business, and who were at least 18 years old.

The survey shows some interesting results:

Of those who received follow-up:

  • 83% said they liked or loved hearing from the company
  • Only 4% didn’t like or hated hearing from the company
  • Nearly three in four were very or somewhat satisfied with the company’s response

Of those who did not receive follow-up:

  • 86% would have liked or loved hearing from the company regarding their complaint tweet
  • Only 1% would have not liked it or hated it if they were contacted by the company regarding their complaint tweet
  • 63% would not like it or hate it if the company contacted them about something other than their complaint tweet

No surprises here:

  1. Of the people who received outreach, 83% said they liked or loved hearing from the company
  2. Of those who didn’t, 86% would have liked or loved hearing from the company regarding their complaint tweet

I publicly posted about this on Google+ earlier today. Two comments to that post stand out:

Sean Carlos – A bigger concern, IMHO, is that twitter is too often used as a crutch to make up for inadequate “standard” support channels. By bringing their complaint into the public domain, consumers are often able to get redress otherwise denied them. That probably isn’t the most effective solution for businesses nor consumers.

Marco Barra – I think business still don’t realise that dealing with these very public complains does not mean that they have to be dealt with publicly! – Often a message such as “I’m really sorry you’re unhappy with XYZ, please DM me your telephone number and I will get one of my guys to call you right back to resolve this issue” is more than enough to move the conversation to a more private channel and defuse the situation altogether.

Consider Twitter as a valuable channel for feedback from your customers that complements your other CRM activity. It doesn’t really matter whether you actively use Twitter or not, as long as you listen to what others say there (which means you need to be paying attention: monitoring and then analysing what you find via such channels).

Good or bad, what tweeters say about you provides you with unfiltered opinion upon which you can act.

Download Maritz Research and evolve24 Twitter Study (PDF).

(Via Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Mezzo@band hire

    I think that all companies need to rethink how they respond to complaints. If you ever watch a show called Undercover Boss, it is amazing how out of touch the hierarchy is with what happens on the ground. Too many customer service people take inappropriate action which does not reflect the company’s position and it is only when the matter is escalated that the consumer receives a sensible response. I would never use twitter to vent a complaint unless I wanted a petition.

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