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UK companies paid out more than £65 million to social media complainers in the last year

11 April 2017
  • Successful social media complainers received just under £32 each, on average, in refunds and gifts
  • Men receive 54% more in discounts or gifts than women when complaining on social media
  • Some have received over £500 in discounts and gifts through social media complaints

Millions of UK consumers have taken to social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to air their grievances about companies’ products and services.

A new study by price comparison website Gocompare.com has found that 15% of UK adults have complained via social media and 55% of those said that having done so their issue was resolved quickly. 28% subsequently received money off or a goodwill gift.

Researchers found that social media complainers have received discounts and free gifts worth more than £65 million from the companies they’ve engaged with on social media, an average of around £32 each.

The study also found that men were more likely to use social media platforms to challenge brands, with 16% of UK male adults complaining via social media compared to just 14% of women.

Women however, received greater satisfaction from their complaints with a higher proportion (58%) having their issue resolved compared to men (52%). Men, on the other hand, received more compensation for their gripes with an average of £40 each being paid out, a 54% increase in comparison (£26).

However, more than a quarter (28%) of UK consumers have also used social media to praise companies, proving that these days, consumers are more likely to share their positive experiences than they are their bad ones.

Gocompare.com's head of money, Matt Sanders, commented: “Many companies now use social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to build greater engagement with their customers. As this research highlights, consumers are becoming savvier, demanding a higher quality of customer service and taking the conversation out of the control of brands.

“Social media channels have become a key component of a company’s customer service strategy with most brands having dedicated accounts to respond to and deal with negative comments quickly and efficiently, and quite often with a more personal touch.

 “Many people dislike confrontation and find complaining in person or over the phone quite difficult, even when their consumer rights are being ignored. Whether you’re a seasoned complainer, or uncomfortable about calling out a poor product or service, using social media is an increasingly common and, for many consumers, successful way of getting your issue resolved.”

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*Between the 8th and 13rd March 2017 OnePoll conducted an online survey among 2000 randomly selected British adults

UK adult population (18+) estimated to be 48,913,000 (source: ONS Annual mid-year population estimates for the UK 2015)

15% of UK adults have complained on social media. 15% of 48,595,258 is 7,336,950. 28% of those received refunds or gifts as a result. 28% of 7,289,288.7is 2,054,346. 2,041,000 x £31.94 = £65,189,540

Percentages have been round up to the nearest whole number