Consumers are increasingly slagging off companies online after receiving poor customer service, research from NewVoiceMedia has found.
The study by the provider of cloud contact centre technology, highlighted that 34% of US 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 2,030 adults from the United States showed that the figure soared to 59.3% among 25-34 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 64% of those surveyed stated that traditional forms of communication such as email and phone were their preferred means of complaining for a fast response, more than a quarter of Gen Y and millennials (those aged 16 to 34) believe social media is the most effective means of issue resolution, with Facebook proving to be the favoured social network for interacting with businesses. One respondent explained: "The risk of getting other people's attention will cause the service providers to act quickly."
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.
As many as 70% of respondents said that good service had a considerable influence on their loyalty and 69% would recommend the company to others. Half would use the business more frequently and 42% are prepared to spend more money with them.
Jonathan Gale, CEO at NewVoiceMedia, said: "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."
Shep Hyken, customer service expert and New York Times bestselling author, added: "Give customers a positive experience and they reward you with loyalty. Fail and you risk being one of the companies that collectively has lost $41 billion when customers switched to a competitor."