Social Media’s High Maintenance Consumers
Research from American Express has identified a still small, yet "extremely engaged and vocal," group of customers that are among the first to be using social media to explore customer service issues.
A survey of about 1,000 U.S. consumers, included in American Express’ third-annual Global Customer Service Barometer, found that 17 percent of consumers have used social media at least once in the last year to obtain a customer service response.
Among the findings:
- People who have used social media for customer service at least once in the last year are willing to spend substantially more (21 percent) with companies they believe provide great service, in contrast to the general population (13 percent more) and those who have not used social media for customer service (11 percent more);
- Among those using social media for service, 85 percent have walked away from an intended purchase in the past year because of a poor customer service experience versus 55 percent for the general population and 49 percent for those who have not used social media for customer service;
- Those using social media for service will tell an average of 42 people about positive experiences versus 15 for the general population and nine for those who have not used social media for customer service;
- Those using social media for will tell an average of 53 people about a bad experience versus 24 for the general population and 17 for those who have not used social media for customer service.
"Ultimately, getting service right with these social media savvy consumers can help a business grow," said Jim Bush, executive vice president, World Service, American Express, in the statement.
The top five reasons consumers use social media for customer service are:
- Seeking an actual response from a company about a service issue — 50 percent;
- Praising a company for a great service experience — 48 percent;
- Sharing information about your service experience with a wider audience — 47 percent;
- Venting frustration about a poor service experience — 46 percent;
- Asking other users how to have better service experiences — 43 percent.
On an encouraging note, 60 percent of this group agreed companies have improved their response times through social media over the past year.
The survey still found that the most popular ways consumers address service inquiries continue to be speaking to a live representative (either on the phone or face-to-face), and through company website or e-mail.
Discussion Questions: Are consumers gaining notably more influence through social media? How should retailers and brands be responding to the growing crop of digital advocates and detractors?