Once again we see that young consumers want to be able to address customer service issues using social media, according to a new study by Sitel.

Led by consumers aged under 25, Britons are turning to social media sites – including Facebook, Twitter, blogs and forums – to solve problems, search for information or voice complaints.

The survey, which interviewed more than 1,000 adults within the UK aged 16-24, found that 15% of 16-24 year olds prefer to interact with customer service on social media over any other method, compared to 8% of 25-34 year olds and 3% of 35-44 year olds.

Highlighting how important social media has become for voicing gripes about brands, 7% of 16-24 year olds said the first thing they do when they have a problem with a product is to complain about it on social media.

But while the emphasis on social media is increasing, it should be seen as only one part of a broader approach to customer service.

The first thing 57% of consumers will do when they have a problem with a product is search for a solution online. This breaks down to 71% of 16-24 year olds, 65% of 25-34 year olds and 64% of 35-44 year olds, 

However companies need to know their audience – 64% of consumers aged 55-64 contact the manufacturer or retailer from which they purchased a product directly when they encounter a problem.

When asked what companies could do to improve the customer service experience, 81% of consumers aged 55-64 said 'make contact numbers easier to find', compared with 52% of consumers aged 16-24.

Across all demographics, 33% of consumers have used online forums or chat rooms, 25% have used video tutorials, either on YouTube or a company’s website, 19% have posted a query on a question website, such as Quora, Facebook Questions or Yahoo Answers, and 11% have used a tutorial or demonstration on a blog.

The data from Sitel’s study shows that social media is growing in importance as a tool for customer service, and the emphasis on this channel will only increase as the younger demographics grow up.

Yomego MD Steve Richards wrote earlier today about 2012 being the year that social customer service will come of age. He said that Twitter will become more than just a tool for responding to consumers, and will allow brands to recruit customers for online communities to develop products and report issues.

David Moth

Published 9 January, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (4)


Social Bullets

I totally agree with you on this not only for customer service, if they are looking for service providers in any field they just write down what they want on platforms like facebook, twitter and many other social media platforms.

over 6 years ago



Interesting study highlighting the fact that social media is reaching across various departments of a company. There is a real need for customer service to work with the social media (marketing) department to really leverage social. Marketers may be the ones to introduce social media but it soon spreads across other department

over 6 years ago


Mark Shaw

I totally agree that 2012 is the year that businesses need to step up to the plate and show amazing customer care / service particulary via Twitter.

Businesses need to stop broadcasting and start listening and engaging with their customers. They need to up their game as we as consumers demand more.

but lets be clear there are very clear reasons why businesses should be amazing with their customer care on Twitter. It will create brand advocates, people that will champion their business, people that will tweet about it, write about it, talk about it etc..

And this is where small business can really have a go at bigger businesses. they can make those changes quickly, build those relationships fast, and really get to know their customers.

Mark Shaw

over 6 years ago


Eptica Blog

This research really hammers home two key points. Firstly, that customer service departments need to make sure that they are monitoring and responding to comments on social media. And secondly, that it needs to be integrated with the rest of customer service – the important point is to have a joined-up approach that shares information across channels so that everyone receives consistent answers and the same high level of service.

over 6 years ago

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