Ethos of the John Lewis Group brings best results in social media
The company ranked the highest in Brandwatch’s latest study, which looked at consumer satisfaction in conversations online, and how brands deal with complaints online.
Second placed was supermarket Waitrose, which is owned by the same group. John Lewis and Waitrose were two of only three brands in the 40 monitored for four months that ranked positively as part of Brandwatch’s work with Customer Service Index 2012.
The other positively ranked brand was DIY story B&Q. Some of the key findings to from the survey are:
- 1. 36 per cent of online respondents who interact with brands on the Internet do so to complain
- 2. 27 per cent of UK adults online interact with brands on the internet at least once a month
- 3. 44 per cent of respondents who interact with brands on the internet use online interactions to request information
- 4. Over a quarter (26 per cent) of UK adults online share information about things they buy online
- 5. Almost one fifth (19 per cent) of UK adults online discuss what they think about brands
The issue then is not that adults don’t want to interact online with brands; they clearly do, but that they tend to do this to express negativity not praise. Overall satisfaction levels have not improved over the course of the last year. Interestingly though, most of this negative commenting is not done in order to embarrass a brand (only 17 per cent wanted to that,) but to help the company improve, with half of the survey’s 2,000 respondents saying this is why the comment negatively on brands online.
Giles Palmer, founder and CEO of Brandwatch highlighted this as he pointed out what many of us using social media know only too readily: some people just love to complain.
“You can’t get away from that fact. But what our results also show is that consumers are sharing information via social media because they genuinely want brands to be better at what they do. The problem comes when brands think they know best. They’re behaving a bit like teenagers, and being too petulant to actually see what’s in front of them,” Palmer said.
The worst offenders are once again telecommunications companies. Indeed three of the bottom five ranked companies were telecoms companies. Talk Talk were the worst offenders, with a score of -119 overall, Vodafone were on -39 in 38th place, and Virgin Media were on -37 in 36th place.
The bank Santander ranked 39th out of 40 overall, but actually had the worst net sentiment score thougg, -78%.
It just emphasizes once again that brands need to see social media as an opportunity to improve their service, not another fire they have to put out.
As Palmer points out when he says that “speed isn’t enough”. He says that too often, when faced with a negative comment brands are too quick to ping back an automated message.
“Perhaps this is the industry’s fault for placing too much emphasis on speed of response. It’s not about speed: it’s about understanding what your customers are taking the time to tell you, learning lessons, and acting on this feedback.”