Posted April 23, 2008 10:05 am by with 7 comments

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Do you use the web to complain about poor customer service? (Maybe I should say "thanks," because you keep me busy with reputation management clients).

Well, if you do, you’re not alone. According to a new study by Society for New Communications Research 59% of respondents said they regularly use social media to "vent" about a poor customer service experience.

And, thanks to the two third of you that do complain, there’s plenty of online fodder for consumers to read, when researching a company’s reputation. And lots of us are researching:

72 percent of respondents used social media to research a company’s reputation for customer care before making a purchase, and 74 percent choose to do business with companies based on the customer care experiences shared by others online.

You’ll never guess who’s leading the way in using social media to address customer complaints?

Amazon – OK, you might have guessed that one.

Dell!!! – Yes, Dell "Customer Service Hell" is commended for its use of social media to address complaints. That may be a shock to you, but if you’ve read Radically Transparent (you have bought it, right?) you’d know all about the great things Dell is doing to reverse negative opinions on the web.

The study will be released later this week, but you can read more at ClickZ.

  • It’s no doubt that customers would vent in an open forum like the internet. One of my competitors on the futon industry has quite a search results that come up in Google search for “I hate *****futons”.

    That’s why it’s really important to be a good business person when working online.

  • Those number do not surprise me at all. But it really is just a measure of what has always been done.

    People have always shared their opinions on a company, and word-of-mouth referrals are a valuable customer source for business.

    Now businesses need to be more careful than ever to provide great customer service, because if they don’t a disgruntled client will post it for the world . . . and Google to see and it will be up there indefinitely.

    The other danger to online customer reviews is that there is no filter for the source of the review. We all know people who wouldn’t be happy if it rained ice cream on Sunday. If someone like that complains about a company to us in person, normally we wouldn’t give that person’s opinion much weight because we know they complain about everything. Online everyone starts with the same credibility.

    Carla’s last blog post..Making Dreams a Reality – Turning the Idea into a Business

  • Well they are going to complain no matter what. Things just happen when you run a business. It is nice to see so many business now embarrassing these reviews onto their own websites. Why not let the customers talk about your products in forum you can control somewhat through moderation. Better than them doing it somewhere else and forcing you to chase them all down to talk with them.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..Google Set Geographic Target Tool

  • Well, I am one of the 59% because I’m still thinking that it is the best way to get attention from the complained companies.

  • My company isn’t Dell, but i agree with opinion that users go to the web search before they have bought the product. That’s why you should always watch what your customers are talking about your company on the Web and always provide good support for them.

  • Perhaps I missed the details, but does that 59% refer to online experiences only? What about folks who have a negative experience offline but know that they can vent their frustrations online to spread the (negative) word about a company?

    If anyone reading this owns a brick-and-mortar business, or even an online business, do you check to see if any of your customers have left feedback via social media?

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