Many businesses have the preconceived idea that complaints are bad for business.

And thanks to the wealth of communication options that customers now have available, they’re now readily exposed for the entire world to see. To put things into perspective, Twitter has 232 million active monthly users and 500 million tweets are sent every single day. With these sheer volumes of users engaging each day it’s clear to see why ‘social media care’ should be high on the agenda for every company and why ignoring complaints of any form is a flawed business decision.

45% of Twitter users use the social platform to complain – that’s around 104 million users. Think of twitter as your “social telephone”; many businesses wouldn’t dream of ignoring phone calls for hours, but are more than happy to ignore complaints via social media from their customers, fearing that the public nature of the complaint will draw negative attention to the business.

Let’s be honest, people use social media platforms to complain BECAUSE of the public nature and brands should feel obliged to respond! And actually failing to acknowledge any tweet directed at the business is considered poor form, let alone one where a complaint has been made. It is in every businesses best interest to respond to complaints or enquiries directed at them on social channels because failing to do so will attract negative attention in its masses and can hinder future business because people will have no faith in your ability to meet their expectations. In more recent cases, customers whom have felt that their complaint was not being listened too, have taken to taking their complaint to a wider audience by using sponsored posts – proving that ignoring complaints may influence your customers to go to drastic measures with potentially disastrous consequences for your business.

Most of the time, all the customers want is a timely and empathetic response, in fact a Maritz study reported that 83% of customers that complained remained loyal to the brand because they responded to the complaint.  Using complaints to showcase your brands ability to engage with your customers, the fact that you use a human element and are not a faceless company will enable you to relish the opportunity to develop strong, trusting and lengthy relationships.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, ‘How important is customer service to your business?’ The answer of course, should be ‘business critical’ and if this IS your answer, incorporating social media into your customer service strategy should be your next move. Especially when you look at the statistics surrounding the reasons customers stay or leave – Bain & Company report that a customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price or product.

As clearly demonstrated by the DMC Infographic below, the path to customer retention is not by simply sweeping complaints under the carpet. Providing excellent customer care over social media is not a difficult task, it becomes difficult when you are required to firefight bad PR. There are 3 steps – be vigilant, be empathetic and find a resolution.

Click on the infographic below to enlarge it

Customer Retention Info

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