Shoppers relying on social media when buying items online

Almost half of consumers say they now count on social media when making an online purchasing decision, research finds.

The power of social media in enabling businesses to deliver good online customer service, and the dangers it presents in allowing consumers to expose bad customer service experiences, have been highlighted by a YouGov survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers.

Word of mouth has translated seamlessly from real life into online conversations. Companies engaging with customers via social media have an opportunity to engineer this in their favour.

However, 55 per cent of under 35s say they use social media to vent about bad customer service (35 per cent of all ages) – suggesting they realise that exposing bad customer service can damage a brand’s reputation and is therefore an effective way to ‘get revenge’ on a company by which they have been mistreated.

Regular social media use means Generation Y is 14 per cent less likely to receive a slow response or no response at all – suggesting a correlation between web-savvy consumers and their ability to track down a swift online customer service response.

Three times as many people use Facebook to vent about bad customer service than Twitter, implying a feeling that customer service horror stories are best shared with friends.

People who use Facebook experience fewer customer service problems than users of other social media sites (34 per cent of Facebook users, 40 per cent across the social media board).

Adam Cooke, creator of customer support service Sirportly says, ‘Not responding to customers effectively over social media platforms is reputation suicide. 

‘With the impact of word of mouth via social media getting stronger by the day, it’s getting more and more important to both avoid annoying customers in the first place and to be able to defend your brand when it’s being publicly bad-mouthed.’

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

Related Topics

Social Media

Leave a comment