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Socially savvy Brits make £46 million by complaining online*

28 April 2014

Though the UK has a reputation for a stiff upper lip and not liking to protest over poor service, new research into consumer’s social media habits by Gocompare.com has found that it pays to complain.

The survey found that more than one in 10 (14%) of people have used social media platforms to complain about a company, while nearly one in five (19%) saying they had talked positively about an organisation online.

The majority (73%) of those who had raised a complaint on social media found some form of success due to raising their issue online. Of those who had complained about a company, half (51%) felt that kicking up a fuss online resulted in their issue being resolved especially quickly.

More than a fifth (22%) of customers who have complained about a company in this way said they received a free gift or discount as a form of recompense. In comparison only 16% of people who had talked positively about a company received anything.

The total value of gifts/discounts that UK customers received from companies as a result of talking about them on social media was £46 million, an average of £29.60 per person.*

Claire Peate, customer insights manager at Gocompare.com, said: “Most of us have been in the position where the service we’ve received has failed to live up to our expectations. However, many of us often shy away from complaining or ‘kicking up a fuss’ and avoid confrontation.

“Ultimately, if a company has done something wrong, they will usually want to put it right. The public nature of social media makes it a useful way for customers to interact with organisations and allows them to air any grievances in a quick and easy manner.

“Our research shows that complaining on social media usually gets results, with almost three quarters (71%) of people receiving some form of resolution to their issue. In some cases, people have even received freebies to make up for the inconvenience.

“Regardless what method you use, if you are unhappy with any goods or service you have received, it’s important to voice your complaint with the company and escalate it if necessary. Customers are the most important aspect of any business and feedback, both positive and negative, is what shapes how an organisation operates, so if you’ve been left disappointed or angry make sure to let the relevant people know and don’t just take it lying down.”

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Notes to editors:

On 17 February 2014, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,019 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

*£46,000,000 figure based on 14% of UK adults having complained about a company on social media. Of those who complained, 22% said they had received a gift/discount as a result. The average value of the total amount of free gifts/discounts given to customers who had either complained or praised a company was £29.60. There are 50,180,000 UK adults (aged 18 and over), 14% of this is 7,025,200. 22% of this 1,5455,44 x £29.60 = £45,748,102 rounded up to £46 million. Any discrepancy is due to rounding.