Customers involved in social media less satisfied with service

Customers engaged in social media present an interesting opportunity for businesses.

Customers engaged in social media present an interesting opportunity for businesses. If companies provide them with high-quality service and a memorable shopping experience, those patrons are likely to act as brand advocates for the business, spreading the word among their social networks and attracting new customers. On the other hand, given a less-than-satisfying experience, those consumers could tarnish a business' reputation and jeopardize customer satisfaction and loyalty among others.

A study by American Express revealed an alarming trend about this demographic. Eight out of ten surveyed said they have left merchandise behind when they experienced poor customer service. Non-social media participants report this behavior much less often. Only 55 percent said they would refuse to purchase merchandise because of a negative service experience.

The study established four of the biggest customer complaints:

1. Rude employees, who were unresponsive or insensitive (33 percent).

2. Being shuffled around when trying to resolve an issue (26 percent).

3. Being forced to wait a long time to resolve an issue (10 percent).

4. Being forced to repeatedly follow-up with the company on an issue (10 percent)

Respondents indicated they lose their patience after 13 minutes of being on hold with a company's call center. Their tolerance is just slightly better for in-person associates. They are willing to wait 12 minutes for assistance at banks, restaurants and retail stores, the study found.

A lot of big brands are letting these social-savvy customers down since only 13 percent of companies responded to customers who posted on their social network page, according to GeekWire, and while some of those responded in 20 minutes (thus giving them the opportunity to satisfy customers) others took up to 50 hours.

Companies that have customer service teams in place and want to check in with their efforts might want to use a mystery shopping service to identify places that might need attention.