• March 7, 2011
  • By Koa Beck, Editorial Assistant, CRM magazine

Few Consumers Share Experiences via Social Media

New research from the Temkin Group has found that few consumers share customer service experiences with others via social media outlets, if at all.

According to the research, which included 6,000 consumers, one-third did not share good experiences at all, while one-fourth did not share bad experiences. The Temkin Group also determined that very few customers actually send feedback to companies (one-third), and that only one-fifth of consumers surveyed expressed a positive experience to a company.

Facebook was identified as the most dominant social media platform for sharing positive and negatives experiences, but only 20 percent of users have shared an experience on the site. Only 4 percent of users on Twitter have shared a bad experience, and only 3 percent have mentioned a positive one.

The Temkin Group determined that Twitter tendencies vary by income, with consumers who earn $100,000 a year or more being more avid Twitter users than less affluent consumers. The most affluent bracket (consumers who earn at least $200,000 a year) was more likely to discuss experiences via phone, email, or in direct conversation. Consumers making $25,000 a year were less inclined to share good or bad experiences through social media.

The data also revealed that Hispanics are the most active Facebook users, whites are the lightest users of Twitter, and African-Americans are the least likely to tell a company directly about a negative experience (only 27 percent). Thirty-nine percent of whites kept positive consumer experiences to themselves.

The higher educated a consumer is, the more likely he is going to share experiences with companies. Customers who did not attend college were the least likely to share impressions of a company on a third-party Web site if at all.

Customers of Apple, Days Inn, and E*Trade had shared poor experiences on Facebook at twice the rate of the average American consumer. Customers at 41 companies represented in the study had expressed sentiments via Facebook, more than 50 percent of the U.S. average. Days Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, and Hyatt topped the list of 46 companies that had consumers sharing negative experiences on Twitter, twice the rate of the average U.S. consumer.

“There is a lot of talk about social media, but those channels represent a very small percentage of the overall feedback that consumers provide,” writes Bruce Temkin, partner at the Temkin Group and author of the report. “While social media feedback varies by segment, Facebook tops out at 37 percent, and Twitter tops out at 12 percent across all of the segments we examined. In some segments, the use of all these channels is negligible. But the social media story is not the same for all organizations.”

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