(UPDATE 5/6/2012:Originally this post said that 83 per cent of consumers bailed on a purchase due to poor customer service on social. This is incorrect. The 83 per cent actually refers to the percentage of social media users who did not make an intended purchase due to general bad service. We sincerely apologise for the error.)
We've spoken about how valuable social media is to brands for connecting with consumers before. For all the apps, self promotion and links you include on your Facebook or Twitter page, you also have to deal with the day-to-day tasks such as dealing with queries, suggestions and complaints. Turns out it's the latter that will have the greatest impact on whether they go ahead with a purchase or not if the results of a new survey is to be believed.
The report, which looks at consumer attitudes and preferences towards consumer services, found that more than eight in ten consumers (83 per cent) who regularly use social media have bailed on a purchase because of poor service experience. For those who haven't used social media for customer service, 49 per cent of consumers failed to complete a purchase due to poor customer service.
Another important aspect to take from this survey is that consumers who use social media for customer service are also the most vocal in both their praise and criticism. When consumers have had a good customer service experience, they would tell an average of 42 people about their experiences.
However, when it's a bad experience, this average rises to 53 people. When it's consumers who don't use social media, the trends remain the same but the average number of people told greatly falls; an average of 9 people are told when it's a positive experience and an average of 17 people are told when it's negative.
Lessons To Learn
The obvious thing to take from this survey is that those people on social media are, by far, the most vocal demographic to deal with. Therefore, businesses and brands need to place a greater importance on promptness and openness, keeping the lines of communication between brand and consumer open and listening to what they have to say.
As American Express say in its report: "Consumers aren't unreasonable and don't expect every problem to be solved instantly. They simply want to be treated like individuals, know that you genuinely care about their issue, and are working hard to address it."
Also, you should use the opportunity to address concerns and issues as a way of connecting with consumers and create a connection that will drive customer loyalty and engagement. Brands should keep this in mind as they improve their services and customer relations.
The survey was conducted in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and India. The survey took a random sample of 1,000 consumers aged 18 and over from each country and was conducted by Echo Research between February 22nd - 29th 2012. A summary of the report can be found here.