UK retailers risk financial and reputational damage by failing to respond to customer complaints on social media

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Recent research conducted by Qudini with over 2,000 UK shoppers has revealed that retailers are risking financial and reputational damage by failing to respond to customer complaints in a timely manner across social media channels with 16% of shoppers revealing that their complaints were not responded to, resulting in reputational damage costing up to £500,000 each year.

The findings were revealed in the company’s latest whitepaper “How and why customers use social media for complaints in retail” which highlights the reasons of intent for using social media as a channel to complain. In the event of a poor experience in-store, the Qudini research highlights that 88% of people will complain in some way with 21% of people likely to air their frustrations on social media with 79.6% of UK shoppers complaining on Facebook and 37.5% on Twitter.

The research also highlighted that Baby Boomers reported the least satisfaction with responses received with a high proportion of the demographic using the channel as a propensity to warn others and elicit a response with intent on damaging the retail brand in question.

With negative social media posts damaging the reputation of 10% of UK businesses in 2018 costing one in 20 companies up to £500,000, it is critical for retailers to adopt to monitor all customer touchpoints and ensure that customers are being responded to in a timely manner.

Commenting on the research, Imogen Wethered, CEO of Qudini, said: “Social media has a unique power to amplify customer grievances and influence behaviour through peer-to-peer recommendations. It compounds the impact for retailers with a sub-optimal in-store customer experience. Without a monitoring and social response strategy in place to deal swiftly with customer complaints or enquiries, retail brands ignore these communication channels at their peril.”

She added: “To mitigate reputational and financial damage, retailers need to focus on the customer experience and ensure that customers are receiving the same level of service across each touchpoint. With many well-known brick and mortar retailers going into administration at the moment, it is imperative that they ensure that people, processes and technologies are aligned so that customer expectations can be matched.”