Social media silence 'could cost retailers £500k'

Failure to reply to customer complaints posted on social media could cost be costing businesses up to £500,000 a year, according to new research.

A study of over 2,000 UK shoppers by Qudini, a cloud-based customer relations management platform, found that 16 per cent had posted a complaint across a company’s social media channel only to have their comments ignored.

The delay in response is generating reputational damage equivalent to £500,000 in lost business, Qudini suggested.

The findings, detailed in a whitepaper, showed that customers who have had an unsatisfactory experience in store are turning to social media to complain, with 88 per cent saying they would raise the issue with the retailer and 21 per cent of those saying they are likely to use social media to do so.

Of those to say they would complain on social media, 79.6 per cent said Facebook would be their preferred platform, whilst 37.5 per cent opted for Twitter.

The research also revealed that baby boomers - those born in the post-war generation of 1946 to 1964 - were the least likely to be satisfied with the responses they receive and were the demographic most likely to warn others with the intention of damaging the online reputation of a retail brand.

Imogen Whethered, chief executive fo Qudini, said: “Social media has a unique power to amplify customer grievances and influence behaviour through peer-to-peer recommendations. It compounds the impact for retailers with a sub-optimal in-store customer experience.

“Without a monitoring and social response strategy in place to deal swiftly with customer complaints or enquiries, retail brands ignore these communication channels at their peril.”

She added that as High Street retailers increasingly go into administration, firms should ensure that people, processes and technologies are aligned so that customer expectations can be met.

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