UK consumers share good and bad customer experiences on social media

Common perception is that consumers are more likely to voice complaints than praise for a company. The idea is that consumers will rapidly vent their frustration to their friends and over social media, but are less likely to broadcast their appreciation for a good customer experience. Yet, latest research commissioned by Yonder Digital Group from independent research organisation MindMetre Research reveals that this perception is wrong.

As social media platforms have become more and more popular, their use spanning generations and continents, they have also ignited a gradual wave of change in consumer mentality: more and more users take to social media to share views and reviews for example. With almost 40% of Europeans on Facebook (Ginny Marvin, Marketers, You’re Thinking About Loyalty Programs All Wrong and Other Consumer Disconnects, Marketing Land, 10 October 2014) and 600 million active Instagrammers (Statista, 2016), it’s clear that businesses cannot afford to ignore the importance of social media as a channel, yet to date, most attention has been focused on avoiding mention in an angry customer rant, while our research shows there is also a significant silver lining.

Latest research commissioned by Yonder Digital Group and canvassing the opinions of 1000 UK consumers shows we are now a society that likes to share good experiences as well as bad ones and highlights the importance of leveraging this good will. Results show that 38% of consumers will actually post about a positive social media experience, more than those who will broadcast a negative one (31%) in fact. By making it easier for consumers to praise a brand over social media consumers are transformed from customers to ambassadors.

If I have a good customer experience with a company I usually tell my friends and/or family89%
If I have a bad customer experience with a company I usually tell my friends and/or family84%
If I have a good customer experience with a company I usually post something about it on social media38%


If I have a bad customer experience with a company I usually post something about it on social media31%

But businesses would be very short-sighted if they only focused their efforts on social media as the research shows that more traditional ways of communicating positive and negative experiences to friends and family still reign undisputed: a far greater proportion of people ‘tell’ friends and family about their good experiences (89%) than ‘post’ about them on social media (38%). It’s also interesting to note that the proportion of consumers using word-of-mouth to ‘tell’ each other about positive brand experiences is consistent across all age groups.

So how can businesses make sure customers are loyally sharing the good times? Having a clear understanding of the ‘customer journey’ that doesn’t fall into age-stereotypes but is based on rigorous, objective analysis of customer data and behaviour is key.  Good practice data handling and analysis will help businesses understand their customers therefore helping to serve them better, market to them more effectively and even produce better products. Lack of targeting on the other hand is a huge turn-off: research from Kitewheel showed that 28% of companies say that the reason consumers most often unsubscribe from emails is that they are receiving too many irrelevant offers, while the consumer half of the survey shows that an underwhelming 10% of respondents find the majority of the marketing sent to them is relevant to their purchasing interests.

In addition to demonstrating a solid understanding of the customer, businesses need to offer consumers channel choice.  Attempting to transfer all contact to cheaper online and automated channels can often drive customers away, rather than fostering and encouraging their engagement and their business. This was confirmed by another recent research report from Yonder which confirmed that UK consumers demand to be able to contact a live person (by phone or in person) at key stages of their journey to purchase. Critical points may be to make non-standard queries or when a problem occurs.

In conclusion, brands need to ensure that customers that are sharing good experiences are being analysed, understood and – ultimately – encouraged or facilitated.  This report also confirms that live contact in the form of calling a live contact centre agent or sharing an experience with mum is evidently a key channel. Sharing experiences is clearly becoming an increasingly vital part of customer experience management and businesses need to be aware of both its digital and ‘analogue’ aspects in order to succeed.

Graham Ede

Graham Ede


Graham Ede, Yonder Digital Group.