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When delivery disappoints, consumers take to social media to complain

In an experiment by the BBC’s The One Show, five companies were contacted by twitter and email and asked to respond to a problem. Interestingly, all five companies replied more quickly, and with a more personalised response to the tweets.[1] It’s clear that companies are becoming more sensitive to the power of social media and the potential adverse effect it has on building and maintaining customer relationships.

Social media is increasingly becoming the preferred channel of choice for customer complaints. A survey for global insurer XL Group found that the majority of consumers surveyed expressed an increased willingness to use social media to complain. Indeed, more than one-third of survey respondents were more likely to use social media to complain to a company than a year ago.[2] By using social media to comment about poor service consumers are immediately broadcasting this message to followers/friends. This means that potentially thousands of prospective customers have been given a negative view of the company from the outset, with the risk that they buy elsewhere.

For online retailers and their delivery partners, the provision of timely and accurate delivery needs to be a key consideration. Nearly two thirds of consumers cite poor delivery standards as the worst thing that can go wrong with online shopping and almost a quarter (23.5%) of respondents said that they had already used social media to complain about these services. Fulfilment and delivery excellence is recognised as essential to customer satisfaction, therefore it is critical that a secure and efficient infrastructure is in place to ensure goods get to consumers at the specified time. Failure to deliver promptly could mean that retailers lose the customers that they have disappointed, but they could also alienate a raft of potential customers that they haven’t even yet engaged with.

Expert partners can help to ensure that distribution solutions not only meet customer expectations but serve to enhance the shopping experience. And just as social media can quickly spread the bad news, so the opposite is true. Consistently delight customers, and the good news can travel fast.

Paul Galpin is Managing Director of mailing and distribution solutions provider P2P Mailing


[1]2013 BBC Twitter Complaints consumers respond more quickly, September 2013

[2] Silicon Republic, ‘Customers increasingly likely to use social media to complain – survey’ 10 October 2013


Author profile

Paul Galpin, Managing Director, P2P Mailing

Paul Galpin has been involved within the mailing industry for over 16 years. Paul has held a number of key roles in Sales and Customer Services throughout this time. Paul started in express international courier in 1995, and has been involved in mail and express distribution to the present day, having worked for various independent and global distribution businesses, including DHL Global Mail, where he was Sales Director in the UK and Ireland for some 5 years.


Paul joined P2P Mailing in January 2009.

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