Report: 55 percent of consumers complain on social media to see results

A new study by Sprout Social revealed that most people think airing their concerns via online platforms forces brand managers to be more accountable.

When traditional customer-service avenues don’t offer a solution, many consumers turn to social media.

After trying to resolve a problem via phone, emailing or an in-person interaction, many would suggest calling out the organization on Twitter or Facebook—wherever someone might actually listen.

Some consumers even take to online channels first. The last thing these brand managers want is a PR crisis that extended from a social media post gone viral.

Airing customer service grievances online has become increasingly common. Forty-six percent of consumers say they’ve used a social platform to call out an organization, according to a recent Sprout Social study titled, “Call-Out Culture: People, Brands & the Social Media Power Struggle.”

The trend of confronting organizations online is believed to be making brand managers more conscientious. The survey found that 81 percent of consumers believe that social media has made organizations more accountable. Think about it: If you understand how ruinous a bad customer experience can be, you want to avoid them at all costs.

There are good reasons why consumers call out brands on social platforms, and sometimes, it’s the only way to see action.

Sprout Social reported that 55 percent of consumers who complain to organizations via social media do it because they want apologies or solutions, but that’s not the most common reason. Most (70 percent) do it because they want to inform other consumers about the problem and raise awareness.

Next to in-person complaints (55 percent), social media (47 percent) has become the second-most common channel for consumers to voice concerns and ask questions. Email (42 percent) and phone (35 percent) are also popular avenues.

PR and marketing pros should take the results of this study to heart in order to improve the way they listen to customers. If your organization doesn’t see social media as a primary point of contact for resolving customer issues, you run the risk of going viral for all the wrong reasons.

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