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What Industries Get the Most Customer Service Complaints?

The Internet and social media have made it much easier for people to vent about bad service to a potentially large audience. If you make a customer unhappy these days you can count on their other 5,000-some friends hearing about it, too. In fact, I ordered some food about two hours ago, it seems, and may starve to death before finishing this post – maybe I should ask the restaurant I ordered from and our 100,000+ followers what the deal is? Personally, I don’t believe in airing gripes over social media, where I like to keep things on a positive note (fortunately for the offending local pizza establishment), but not everyone is like me. 25% of people who have a negative customer experience share their thoughts on social networks.

As cathartic as venting on social media may seem, your strong words may not lead to immediate sympathy from the offending company. Only 44% of the top 25 online retailers responded to customer service requests from social media within 24 hours. Many companies just aren’t equipped to monitor their social media channels and provide their customers with respectable real-time service. But that’s what people expect these days! Note: 51% of Facebook users expect a same-day response from brands, while 52% of Twitter users expect a response within two hours. And 31% of all customers expect to resolve service-related issues via social.

With all this talk, it’d be interesting to see which industries receive the most customer service complaints. It turns out technology companies like Google have terrible reputations when it comes to social media-based customer service. Perhaps it’s difficult for them to deal with so many users, as social media customer service can be hard to scale. Financial services, such as those from Bank of America, consistently rank “poorly” – only 10% of social media users have ever had a positive experience with social media-based customer service.

E-commerce and retail sites tend to rank much higher in customer satisfaction at over 80% positive experience ratings. Interestingly enough, while retailers have a clear lead over other industries with a 34% positive reaction rate, 26.8% of those “excellent” ratings, the industry still receives 39% negative ratings. It seems that even when you try to serve customers the right way, it’s not easy to make angry customers happy again!

Have you ever complained about a service on social media? Let us know about the experience in the comments below.

Hilary Little
Hi Daniel, great article. I'm interested in quoting some of the stats in your second paragraph. Could you please share your sources? Cheers!
DnaImagery Santabarbara
I've mainly only complained to computer companies & credit card companies, but awesome infographic on an unfortunate side effect of terrible products & service. =P
Eric Hearn
Banks & most related institutions and services telecoms, gas & electric are easy targets - all too large, unresponsive and not part of the joined up world.
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