Venting in the Social Sphere

Let’s start with some facts.

  • 65% of complaints go unnoticed on Facebook
  • 70% of companies ignore Twitter complaints

That’s a lot of dissatisfied customers waiting for a response!

These statistics indicate that people frequenting social media are likely to encounter more unsolved issues than solved. In some cases this can be more damaging to a company than the initial problem itself. People who witness this ignorance may think, ‘could this happen to me?’ This could lead to the possibility of them not making a purchase based on another individual’s unaddressed complaint.

In the past, offering feedback to a company was often a difficult process. Having visited the McDonalds drive-through, you get home and sit down to enjoy your meal only to find the sweet and sour sauce for your chicken nuggets is missing! The only way to complain would be to make the drive back to your local franchise or try to find the phone number in the Yellow Pages. Not worth the hassle.

But now upset customers have a way to speak out. And it is relatively simple. If you have Facebook you can easily search for the company you wish to compliment or complain about. 2.4 million people in New Zealand are using Facebook and it is a simple way to express opinions. Open that Facebook tab and simply type in ‘McDonald’s NZ.’ Members of the public are posting complaint after complaint, miniscule or massive. Wading through the posts, the negativity far outweighs any hint of positivity.



Or, if you are one of the 368,000 kiwis on Twitter you’ll find it easy to track down a company, tag them in a tweet and rip them to shreds. Plus, if a complainant has a large fleet of followers their tweet can soon go viral.

A company who is currently receiving a lot of valuable feedback is Telecom. Or should I say, Spark? They have recently launched an online feedback platform titled ‘SparkShould.’ And regardless of your view on their name change, you should be checking it out.



Customers can visit the site and make recommendations or complaints under two headings: ‘Spark should start’ and ‘Spark should sort.’

The comments are there for all visitors to the site to see, although unlike Facebook, people are not able to comment on other posts. They are however able to give thumbs up or thumbs down to a question and its answer, which is proving to be a popular feature.

Has Telecom cracked the way to merge social media and message forums? Only time will tell. For now, Telecom has demonstrated how a single, simple page can create an avalanche of feedback. This mass of data is now available to Telecom to consider which can surely only help them as they undergo the process of transformation.

It’s a very positive move to take the exposure from this announcement to ask customers what they want.

Even if you don’t want to hear what your customers are saying, you need to hear it. So it is important to make use of the available platforms and acknowledge and better yet resolve your customer’s issues.

Author: Carmen McDougall (Clemenger Graduate)