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Home » Engagement, industry research, News, Social Business

The amazingly gratifying angry customer service Tweet

Submitted by on October 26, 2011 – 8:45 am4 Comments

I’ve only twice ever turned to Twitter to clear up a vexing customer service glitch. The results were deeply gratifying: I got a helpful response in a fairly timely manner resolving my ongoing feuds problems with Groupon Italia and Bank of America. Turns out I’m not alone in thinking this is the future of attentive customer service, as new research shows.

According to a Maritz Research survey, a whopping 83% of consumers were extremely grateful that the company they sent a grumbling Tweet to responded in some way. Maritz goes on to say:

And just under 75 percent of those people who received a response were very or somewhat satisfied with the response they received. A little more than 15 percent said they were either very or somewhat dissatisfied with the company’s response.

When three out of four consumers checks the satisfied box you must be doing something right. What’s disappointing though is the overall response rate. Just 1/3 of those who complained actually got a DM in response from the brand. They really missed a big opportunity. “For the two-thirds of respondents who didn’t receive an answer to their complaint, a similar number, 86 percent, also would have liked or loved to hear from the company,” Maritz explains.

eMarketer used this data to ask the question: when should companies respond to angry Tweets? It turns out that different demographics have different expectations from their Twitter customer service experiences. For example, older consumers (age 45 and above) fully expect to get a response from the company when using Twitter to complain. What about the 18-35 age bracket? Less so, but still their expectations of a response are relatively high too.

It’s pretty clear that the 1/3 response rate, low now, will only grow as consumer-facing companies invest more in Twitter-bound customer service. eMarketer notes:

Many brands are responding to tweets and mentions in order to maintain their reputations and sustain important customer relationships. According to a Forrester Consulting social media report commission by Dell, 58% of US marketers believe that listening and engaging with consumers through digital media will help with customer perceptions of their brand. Also, 56% said their social media efforts would aid in building long-term customer relationships.

Here’s the full breakdown of what brands expect to get out of this investment:

It may seem like a massive investment, but building an attentive “social” customer service team should pay big dividends where it really counts: in customer satisfaction and loyalty. In theory it should also cut down on in-bound calls. In this way, the investment pays off double.



  • Andrew Barnes says:

    Nice article, it reflects the growing trend but perhaps doesn’t address one of the big issues with Customer Service on Facebook and Twitter. How do you manage it? Will the home of customer service move away from call centres to marketing teams? Dealing with the odd tweet/wall comment is fine, but when the volumes crank up some control is required if Social Media based customer service is to be a success. Otherwise it can drag the brand down rather than re-enforce it?

  • Well put, Andrew. It certainly is an investment for any brand to consider. Still, as my own experience can attest, it certainly is a worthwhile one if you want to build some customer satisfaction.

  • [...] a growing army of unhappy, sometimes bitter and angry customers who take to social media to vent their frustrations about a brand’s products or services. Sometimes they can get so mean that [...]

  • [...] a growing army of unhappy, sometimes bitter and angry customers who take to social media to vent their frustrations about a brand’s products or services. Sometimes they can get so mean that [...]

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