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Majority of social content regarding brands is negative – study

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23rd Jul 2012
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Whilst customer service on social media platforms continues to be crucial for brands, 52% of all social content relating to brands is negative in tone.

That’s according to Brandwatch’s latest annual Customer Service Index (CSI) that scored 40 brands on both visibility of customer service content as well as tone of posts.

The findings showed only three of the 40 brands demonstrated successful customer service experience and emerged with a score above zero whilst negative content grew by 4% since the previous year’s study.

John Lewis, Waitrose and B&Q were the clear winners of CSI 2012 with the retail sector as a whole emerging as the top performer over the four-month evaluation period.

According to the study, three of the worst perceived brands were the telecoms providers Virgin Media, Vodafone and TalkTalk.

Overall, online customer service conversation about the leading 40 brands declined in tone year-on-year, which Brandwatch interpreted as confirmation that consumers are turning more to the web to discuss problems about this topic.

The report was conducted in conjunction with a survey of over 2,000 UK consumers by YouGov and Brandwatch that showed over a third (36%) of respondents interact with brands on the internet to complain

However, the report also dispelled the myth that consumers’ main reason for making a complaint is to embarrass brands publically with 50% of respondents claiming to take to social media to complain because they want brands to learn from their mistakes

Giles Palmer, founder and CEO of Brandwatch, said: “Some people just love to complain – you can’t get away from that fact. But what our results also show is that consumers are sharing information via social media because they genuinely want brands to be better at what they do. The problem comes when brands think they know best. They’re behaving a bit like teenagers, and being too petulant to actually see what’s in front of them.

“Speed isn’t enough. Too often, when faced with a negative comment brands are too quick to ping back an automated message. Perhaps this is the industry’s fault for placing too much emphasis on speed of response. It’s not about speed: it’s about understanding what your customers are taking the time to tell you, learning lessons, and acting on this feedback.” 

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