Can negative reviews on social media be the kiss of death for a brand?
Well, they certainly don’t help, according to a new survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by branding and marketing strategy firm Corra. It found a large majority of consumers will change purchase decisions based on social-media reviews.
Overall 88% of respondents said they have avoided a company because of bad reviews on social media, Corra found, while a large majority also said they were willing to post negative reviews on social media themselves, with 83.4% saying they have complained about bad service or a product issue on social media.
Asked about specific reasons they would criticize a company online, some of the most popular grievances were faulty products, hidden fees, rude or dismissive customer service representative, products not matching their descriptions, airlines losing luggage, shoddy material for clothes, stores not accepting returns, and bad service at a hospitality business, restaurant, or online retailer.
The survey also inquired about motivations for leaving bad reviews, and found that altruistic reasons ranked high (according to respondents’ own self-assessments, at least): 73.2% of respondents said they would like to save other customers from a similar experience and 48.7% said they want the company to be more honest about issues like fees or policies.
Meanwhile, 48.3% said they wanted a refund, 39.7% said they wanted the company to change its policies, and 38.5% wanted an apology. 28.5% said they wanted credit or a gift card, and just 13.5% said they wanted to hurt a company’s reputation.
The good news is that companies have a good chance of getting out of the doghouse if they deal with customers’ problems expeditiously: 70% of respondents said they would do business with a company again if their customer service issue is resolved in their favor.
Most consumers are willing to cut brands a little slack: following a bad customer service incident, 89.7% said they would give a company a second chance to make things right before giving up for good.Corra found some interesting gender distinctions when it comes to complaining on social media.
Women’s complaints were about 30% longer than men’s, on average, at 214.9 words versus 158.4, respectively.
Women were most likely to complain when a product if faulty, over hidden fees, about a rude or dismissive customer rep, or when clothing is made of shoddy material or damaged.
Men were most likely to complain over airlines losing luggage, companies using their address or email address to deluge them with ads, when a product is the wrong color, and when a service provider has to change an appointment.
Finally, women were most likely to post negative reviews on Amazon, their own Facebook personal page, or Yelp. Men were more likely to complain on Twitter and Reddit.
Both genders were equally likely to complain on a Facebook group or brand page. Men were also more likely to vent on YouTube.