"Forget Facebook, we want online reviews" say customers

5th Jul 2010

Forget Facebook and Twitter profiles, what UK consumers really want brands to provide them are online facilities for posting product and service reviews.

According to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index, which is based on a survey of 26,000 UK adults undertaken by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS), just over two out of five UK customers believe that the provision of an online review service should now be standard in all good corporate websites, with 54% of respondents using one if it is available.

This compares with a mere 8% who expect brands to operate a Twitter account and only 14% who are keen to interact with them using Facebook.

Jo Causon, chief executive at the Institute, said: "By denying customers the right to reply on an open platform, businesses not only irritate customers, they miss out on the opportunity to gain valuable feedback, leaving them unaware of, and unable to, rectify problems as soon as they arrive."

But by providing an online space, brands open up a line of communication between the themselves and their customers which, if handled correctly, can help build stronger relationships and enhanced customer loyalty, she added.

The study also found, unsurprisingly, that younger users were keener on social media than their older counterparts, however. Just over a fifth of 18-24 year olds expected brands to operate a Facebook page compared with just 13% in the 35 to 54 age group and barely 7% of over 55s.

But the research likewise revealed that, while more than half expected a same-day response to online complaints, a mere 29% actually got one, with 12% having to wait at least a month before they got any kind of answer.

Past ICS surveys have shown that three-quarters of UK consumers make a complaint if they encounter problems with goods or services, but only 15% of face-to-face or telephone gripes are dealt with on the spot. More than half of issues take more than a week to resolve, while 26% are never sorted out.


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