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Marketers ignore customer complaints on social media
NEW YORK (11/14/11)--The double-edge sword of social media turned around and bit big banks in the days leading up to Bank Transfer Day, to the benefit of credit unions' membership and deposits growth. According to a new poll that reports a "disconnect" between companies and customers' complaints, banks should have responded to customers' complaints raised on social media.

How best to deal with negative buzz is a perennial question, said eMarketer.com (Nov. 10), reporting on a survey of U.S. company executives conducted in September by feedback management software provider MarketTools.

The study found that 34% of the executives polled know their customers used social media such as Twitter and Facebook to complain about their products and services. But nearly half of those surveyed (44%)  think that their customers don't comment or complain about their products and services online, and 22%  don't know.

"While it's possible that some business-to-business companies really don't have to worry much about customers turning to Twitter to vent their frustration, for consumer-facing firms, the probability seems high, raising the question as to whether executives are aware enough of online complaints."

The survey also found that while a sizeable number of marketers respond to customer complaints on Facebook or Twitter at least some of the time, many leave questions and negative feedback completely unanswered. On Twitter, 29% said they responded to such feedback "seldom" or "never."  On Facebook, 17% said the same.

"Consumers may not be happy with this frequency of response," said eMarketer.com. "Research tends to show that social media users want businesses to answer them, and that an interaction with a company representative online can defuse negative feedback sometimes simply by offering attention.

What's the lesson in this for credit unions?  More credit unions are using social media as a channel of communications with their members.  If the credit union gets feedback--constructive or otherwise--address it and acknowledge it.


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