How to: handle your customers online.

Two-way conversation has never been easier between companies and consumers; as social media, smartphones, and tablets become an essential part to our daily living, it has certainly never been simpler for a brand to engage with a consumer.

The opening of this two-way communication has made consumers more demanding when it comes to complaint handling. We surveyed our panel of UK consumers to discover their opinion of taking to the keyboard to complain to brands.

When it comes to complaining on social media, our panel were relatively mixed. As a number of the panel saw the use of social media as the ‘naming and shaming’ of brands; commenting that really it is too public – once you post something, it’s out there for hundreds of thousands of people to see. Furthermore, a small proportion of the panel commented on the effect social media complaints have on other consumers, that they will just jump onto the bandwagon.

Although some users openly mentioned their previous use of social media to complain, finding it much easier to find who to complain to and gaining a much faster speed of response.

“I have been known to take to a company’s Twitter or Facebook page to get what I believe is a faster, and a swifter, and a more efficient response.”

When word of mouth marketing is vital, the exposure of brands to each individual consumer has increased due to social media, proving that brands need to maintain a good relationship with their consumers. A number of the panel commenting on the importance of a good online reputation for brands, as consumers have become increasing aware of this, they have felt more comfortable sharing online.

“You’ve got someone there, almost immediately to answer the question” Andrew, Edinburgh, 33.

It seems Twitter has become synonymous with customer service, well customer complaints.

Twitter, a place where you can go from hero to zero in one bad tweet, a place brands worry they will be named and shamed, and the consumer is very aware of this.

A number of our panel commented that they know a tweet is much more likely to be handled faster and more effectively by the customer service team than any email. Why? Because it’s so open, it can’t be controlled, it can’t be hidden, and on the whole Twitter complaints end in a more beneficial result for the consumer.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could minimise the amount of complaints and feedback that come through your social media channels?

VoxPopMe is a way for companies to ask consumers what they really think of the brand, their product offerings or recent changes; all too often the only feedback brands receive if someone complaining or wanting compensation. What about all those first time users of your brand or your loyal customer base – what do they think? It’s just as important to understand what is positive, as it is to change the negatives.