Research conducted by Salesforce.com has highlighted not just high levels of customer dissatisfaction with service across the UK but also the decision some disgruntled shoppers are taking to sound off against brands online.
There is an appetite for more interaction between buyers and suppliers online with 44% happy to use social media for customer service. Slightly more than half those quizzed, 52%, already expect their sellers to be monitoring social media for complaints.
"Those companies that want to retain and build a rapport with their customers need to ensure that their customer care agents can monitor and engage people seamlessly - whether that's on the phone, over email or through more modern techniques such an online portals, real-time chat or social media channels," said Tim Barker, Vice President EMEA Strategy at salesforce.com.
Nearly half (44%) of people now use some kind of social media, such as social networks or forums, for customer service purposes and a third (34 per cent) now email customer service departments as the first response to a query or compliant.
The research also revealed that it is the younger age groups driving adoption of social media for customer service queries, with twice as many of those under 24 using Facebook, and Twitter for customer service purposes as those aged 34 and over.
"Conversations about businesses and their products and services are moving online and the use of social media and online portals for customer service purposes are clearly rising rapidly," said Duncan Baker, director of strategic marketing and communications, The Institute of Customer Service.
"People now want to communicate with the companies and brands they deal with in a wide variety of ways and they're prepared to go elsewhere if their needs aren't met," he added.
Marc Quantrill, partner sales director at Transversal, which specialises in building customer help and FAQ web menus. said that more customers were now expecting help to made available online and there were some major benefits for those that made the effort.
As well as heading off some potential queries the experience of some of Transversal's customers had shown it had reduced help desk calls and freed up time of those manning the phones to deal on bigger issues.