The percentage of consumers who posted a negative or positive comment about their interaction with a Consumer Affairs Department has doubled in just one year, according to a study sponsored by The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR). 

In the Second Annual Social Media Benchmarking Study, 20 companies (a combination of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies) provided information on their social media policies to see how it compared with their consumers’ expectations and behaviors. 

The study included feedback from 28,000 consumers about their use and impressions of social media platforms. 

“This is a significant finding for the 20 companies and reinforces the value of investing more heavily in customer service", said Richard Shapiro, president of TCFCR and author of the soon-to-be-published book, The Service Genie: Getting The Service You Wish For.

"Fifty-four percent of the postings were positive, compared to 23% being negative, with the primary driver of negative postings being related to the product itself and not the service delivery by the representative.” 

Study Highlights 

  • While the percentage of consumers using social media remained consistent at 60%, 54% of the respondents said their social media usage had increased in the past year, compared with 11% who said it decreased;
  • Overall, 36% of the respondents said they are following companies/brands on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. or have them on their friends list. There was a variance by age demographic, with 53% of consumers who were 40 years old or younger following companies/brands versus 18% for respondents who were 55 years of age or older; and
  • When consumers were asked how social media has influenced their purchasing decisions, 24% said they will consider purchasing a product after seeing a positive post, and 15% said they will stop buying a product after reading a negative comment on a social media site.

 

“The data collected from this study clearly demonstrates the power and influence of social media on consumer purchasing habits," says Shapiro. "Companies have an opportunity to significantly increase their revenues by providing excellent service with more and more consumers posting positive comments about their interactions. Conversely, companies can easily damage their brands by not providing good service that demonstrates to the consumer that their business is welcomed, appreciated and important.” 

Shapiro says with such significant increases in the percentages in just one year, he's looking forward to the findings from the Third Annual Social Media Benchmarking Study, which is scheduled for this coming September.