Disgruntled consumers target retailers via social media, HSO
36% of consumers would use social media to complain about a product or service, according to new HSO research. This compares to 30% who would use an online complaints form, 18% who opted for visiting the store and 14% who preferred the more traditional approach of a telephone call.
The survey of 100 people also revealed that the primary use of social media for engagement was: ‘to make a complaint about a product or service’ referenced by 61% of respondents. 27% used it ‘for more information about store/product’ and 23% did so, ‘to look for discounts and promotions’. “These figures show that the traditional picture of a customer simply picking up the phone and talking directly with a call centre agent about an issue or problem is increasingly outmoded,” says Hector Hickmott, HSO Sales Director. “Retailers need to be aware of this shifting consumer landscape and ready and willing to engage with their customers in the way their customers want to engage and interact - which is increasingly online and over social media.”
Just 37% of the survey sample said they had never bought a product based on what they had seen on a social media channel. Facebook was the most influential channel, with 32% saying they had bought a product based on what they had seen there. Instagram was next (referenced by 27%), followed by YouTube (25%), Twitter (16%), Pinterest (13%), and Snapchat trailing well behind with just 2%. This, however, is likely to change over time. 16-24-year-olds are most influenced by Instagram, with 70% of the sample in this age category, saying they had previously bought a product based on what they had seen there.
And there may be broad interest in purchasing directly from a retailer through a social media channel. 29% of respondents said they would either definitely do this, or would consider doing it for some purchases. “Most retailers today understand the potential of social media channels to strongly influence sales,” says Hickmott. “Many fewer see social media as a direct facilitator of those sales. However, with nearly a third of the sample saying that they would be open to this, at the very least for some purchases, there is clearly an appetite from the public for this kind of service.”