Saturday, July 3, 2010

The New Media Versus the Old Media

The Institute of Customer Service in the UK just completed a survey of UK consumers to examine customers perception of the space on the company's site to review products and services and leave a comment versus having a Twitter account and/or a Facebook page. The results are somewhat surprising as noted below.

1. Providing space for on site reviews or products and services is five times more important to UK consumers than a company having a Twitter account.
2. Providing that same space is three times more important than offering a Facebook page or group.
3. About 41% of the UK consumers view the on site facility as a standard element of any good corporate website and 54% of the consumers said they use such facility when it is provided.
4. When age is considered the younger consumers (18-24) expect a company to run a Facebook page compared to 13% of the 35-54 age group and only 7% for the over 55 age group.

Jo Causon, Chief Executive at the Institute of Customer Service commented: "Businesses must wake up to the fact that the relationship between companies and their customer has changed irrevocably." The research also found some more areas that will need to be addressed. Some of the findings suggest better followup to customers concerns are indicated. Some of the findings are:

1. While 55% of consumers expect a response the same day to an online complaint, only 29% actually receive one.
2. Even worse, they found that 12% reported having to wait at least a month for a response.
3. The study showed that 75% of UK consumers complain when encountering a problem with goods or services, yet only 15% of face-to-face telephone complaints are able to be dealt with on the spot
4. More than 52% complaints take over a week to resolve.
5. Worst of all, 26% of the complaints remain unresolved.

The bottom line is that providing customers with a way to complain is still important and even more important companies must find a way to reduce the turnaround time to resolve complaints. These data support the research at The Customer Institute that indicate the UK has lower customer satisfaction for support of technology equipment than the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

While Twitter and Facebook seem to be taking hold of the company-consumer interface, they have not yet displaced what has always been the road to customer satisfaction when a complaint is offered. It may be just a matter of time.

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