Would you ever tell a Facebook friend that your stay at a hotel really “sucked,” or can you see yourself going public on Twitter with a rant about some resort’s horrible customer service or food?
It seems, says Hotelmarketing.com that although we’re big users of social media, and often inclined to grouse to our friends about a bad trip or lousy airline service, in reality, only 2% of those surveyed said they express their specific, negative feedback about an airline or trip via social media, especially Facebook and Twitter.
Most level their gripes at the customer service department, or through a hotel’s web site or an email and even by phone.
Partly, says emarketer, the feeling is that the social network-driven complains are “undirected, so they often go unanswered.” And only one out of four consumers who complained, says the web site, actually got a response back, specifically from an airline.
While directly complaints to a brand directly is still the preferred way to give feedback (most always negative), that is no reason for the brands to relax their vigilance and stop listening to their customers.
For now, Social Network users, says emarketer, are primarily discussing and comparing prices.
• The users talk about sales and special deals (54%), give advice ( 50%) and provide feedback to a brand or retailer, (53%)
• Interestingly, only 36% of social network users polled said they use social media tools to connect with customer service.
The tendency to contact a retailer (hotel, airline, resort, ) may be small, but only in travel.
Respondents say that they are more likely to use social media to direct negative comments about household products, healthcare and pharma.
But the trend is decidedly toward looping travel into the social media-complaint broadcast.
This gives travel providers and suppliers a chance now, in the early stages, to connect with customers and develop a loyal following.
But will they?