It seems clear that the great British public will now very rarely be bothered to write or call companies when something is wrong.
Instead we are likely to simply moan or let rip on social media before stopping to use a brand or service, probably without telling the company – a trend that has spawned the growth in social media monitoring.
That’s just one of the main findings from the annual ‘Customers in Britain’ survey earlier this year, which records that ‘traditional’ complaint behaviour now runs at less than half the volume recorded a decade ago.
Until about 2010 the survey regularly recorded that about half of all adults made three or more complaints per year to any brand or organisation – and it’s these higher volume complainers who in particular have gone elsewhere: no doubt social media is now their main channel.
Perhaps less surprising is that the highest proportions of classic ‘direct to the brand’ complaints behaviour is generated from more traditional rural areas, the older age bands and more upscale social groups.
In terms of sector, we have seen for many years that the highest volumes of complaints are received by the supermarkets, banks and utility suppliers. However, whilst retailers generally do well at turning adversity to their advantage, with no-quibble refunds or exchanges, utilities struggle to get the same high scores for complaint handling and satisfaction, whilst the lowest scores for complaint resolution go to Central and local Government services.
‘Customers in Britain’ is an annual survey available to purchase, with a free overview also available from Firebrand Insight.