Consumers Punish Companies that Ignore Them

No one puts consumers in the corner. That’s the upshot of a new study from Conversocial exploring the consequences for brands and retail chains which ignore questions and complaints from consumers posted on social media. The consequences, as might be expected, are not good.

According to an earlier survey of retailers by Conversocial, more than 60% of complaints and question about retailers posted online on social media are ignored, in part because of the sheer volume of content created on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Worse, 30% of the retail chains surveyed don’t respond to any questions or complaints posted on social media, effectively choosing to ignore issues mentioned in these forums.

In the second study, based on a survey of 513 consumers who use social media, Conversocial found that 50.7% of the respondents said they use social media to attempt to communicate with companies, and 78% believe that social media platforms will soon replace other means of customer service altogether or at least become one of the top ways to communicate with corporations.

However, among the group which has communicated with companies via social media, 32.5% said they were either neglected or totally ignored; that works out to 16.5% of the total -- not a small proportion. This included “inadequate response times, unanswered queries, and overall unmet expectations.”

What’s more, “respondents were also adamant that such corporate behaviors would have some or much effect on their future decision to do business with offending corporations.” 27.3% of respondents said being ignored by companies on social media makes them “very angry,” and 27.1% said they’d stop doing business with the offending company altogether.

Perhaps even more damaging, 88.3% of respondents said they’d be somewhat or far less likely to do business with a company that has visibly ignored other customers’ questions or complaints on social media. That includes 49.5% who said they would be “far less likely,” and 38.8% who said they’d be “somewhat less likely.”

2 comments about "Consumers Punish Companies that Ignore Them".
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  1. Suzie Mitchell from, January 11, 2012 at 3:07 p.m.

    I have been telling my clients this for quite a while. Just heard a panel where mobile app developers said they ignored their client comments....let's see what happens to their apps in the long run

  2. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs, January 15, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.

    There is a fine line to be drawn between responding to consumer complaints and creating a firestorm. I recommend that my clients incorporate responding to consumer complaints into their crisis management plan. This generally then opens up the discussion and encourages input from the PR team that are experts on the brand's policies toward complaints aired in a public forum. (whether it is in the press or on social media sites-the complaint is public and needs to be addressed with that in mind. This type of open communication benefits both.

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