The vast majority (94 percent) of companies do not yet use social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to gather customer feedback, despite consumers’ growing engagement with these media, according to a new study released by MarketTools, a leader in software and services for enterprise feedback management and market research.
The study found that the most common ways companies gather customer feedback are email/online surveys (51 percent), formal phone surveys (28 percent), and informal phone calls (28 percent).
“Despite the fact that social media channels represent a rich, continuous stream of customer feedback, few organizations are equipped to take advantage of this channel,” says Justin Schuster, vice president of enterprise products for MarketTools. “Although traditional methods of gathering customer feedback including online surveys and phone surveys are core to most voice of the customer initiatives, organizations that use enterprise feedback management solutions to incorporate feedback gathered through social media channels are able to uncover richer insights to help them improve customer satisfaction.”
A growing number of consumers are turning to social media channels to share unsatisfactory customer service experiences. In a recent research report, analyst firm Forrester found that 16 percent of customers have vented about negative customer service interactions through social channels, such as online customer reviews, Facebook status updates, or blog posts. Forrester also cites “integrating social media monitoring” as one of the major trends that characterize leading-edge voice of the customer programs.
“Companies need to know what their customers are saying about them online, and they need to use this unsolicited feedback to not only address the concerns of the individual customer, but to uncover insights to help improve business processes that lead to higher overall customer satisfaction,” adds Schuster.
The survey also found that 92 percent of respondents believe that satisfied customers are very important or extremely important to their company’s bottom line, fewer than half (42 percent) solicit customer feedback on a continuous basis, and more than one-fifth (22 percent) solicit feedback only once a year or not at all. And despite the importance given to customer satisfaction, 14 percent of executives surveyed said their companies don’t solicit customer feedback at all