We recently saw the publication of the annual ‘Year on Twitter’ review, and there is no longer any doubt that you can see the effects Twitter, and other social networks, are having on our society. Love it or hate it, Twitter now has 10 million active users in the UK. It brings them closer together and is a voice for the things they care about and their unique views; it cannot be ignored by any serious business.

There are some interesting statistics in the review, highlighting trends and highest twitter ‘spikes’.

It is the lower profile messages that should hold more interest for companies in the UK for it is on Twitter that people often voice their frustration or dissatisfaction with a product or service, and yet Companies still fail to respond even though research shows that ignoring these customers is the worst possible strategy. The statistics from one report from Oracle are compelling:

  • 89 percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
  • 50 percent of consumers give a brand only one week to respond to a question before they stop doing business with them.

Yet the same report concludes that 4 out of 5 consumer complaints about poor service are ignored.

Our view:

The drive to get new customers should always be pursued in step with the mantra ‘It’s much more profitable to keep an existing customer than to go looking for a new one.’ However, common sense it seems is widely ignored in practice. There is no doubt that Social Media can be an invaluable source of information, but often the importance of listening is forgotten.

Companies that fail to respond to complaints in a timely manner risk losing the same customers they spent large sums acquiring in the first place. Experience shows that even when a problem is no longer fixable a simple apology can still turn a negative attitude into a positive result.

Fundamentally, though we believe prevention is always better than cure this is not reflected in the strategy of many companies. Technology spend on servicing existing customers is not valued as highly as spending on technology to chase new prospects. Rather than looking after our loyal customers, we subject them to outdated systems and poor processes. As we approach a New Year, it is time to remember that customer retention is crucial and our loyal customers are the best source of recommendation. So ‘putting up’ with mediocre systems should not be an option.