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Customer complaints set to explode online

17th Sep 2013
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Brands fire-fighting complaints on social media has become a familiar site but they’re about to face a complaints explosion as the younger tech-savvy generation reaches the age of 25.

According to new research from KANA Software, which examined the potential impact of social media-savvy complainants on organisations, the age at which consumers’ are more likely to complain matures at 25 – coinciding with the time when consumers become customers of banks, utilities and public sector organisations.

The research also showed that consumers aged 18-24 are more likely to take to social to air their complaint than traditional channels, resulting in KANA’s predicted tidal wave of complaints online.

In total, UK customers, spend two days  a year complaining with the average complaint taking up an average three hours and 54 minutes, the study showed.

Why so long? According to the findings, the amount of time spent repeating details of the complaint was a major factor in length resolution times, with more than half of complaints circled around different departments in an organisation.  

Separate research from KANA Software and Forrester recently showed that three quarters of consumers move to other communication channels when they’re unsatisfied with their first contact methods.

David Moody, head of product strategy for KANA Software, said: “Passing the buck simply isn’t going to work as consumers get more adept at social media. It is easier than ever for customers to make truly informed choices and it is also becoming easier for consumers to shift service providers if they are disenchanted.

The findings echo warnings from the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) earlier this year that the UK now has a ‘complaints culture’ – despite being more satisfied with products and services, the number of customer complaints is on the rise.

According to research from the ICS, the number of problems faced when buying goods and services fell from 17% in January 2008 to 11.7% in July 2012 but the number of consumers making a complaint over the same period rose 4% to reach 76% in 2012.

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