Social media and the way that we complain

Are social media like Twitter and Facebook changing the way we complain when we have received poor service from a company?

A survey of 2000 adults, reported by BBC News, found that 36 per cent had used a social media platform to contact a big company. Some 65 per cent of those surveyed believed social media was a better way to communicate with companies than call centres.

And the tactic is not confined to young people. Though  half of people aged between 18 and 24 engaged with big brands in this way, the esearchers found that over a quarter of those surveyed aged 55 and above had contacted companies using social media too.

Dr Rob Yeung, a Chartered Psychologist at the leadership consulting firm Talentspacem is not surprised that people feel more comfortable complaining about large organisations online:

“Peer-reviewed research suggests that people feel more comfortable criticising an experimental confederate by providing written rather than face-to-face feedback, so this survey seems to be confirming the same trend.”

However, he suggests that the tactics many of use when making a complaint can be improved:

“Rather than making accusatory statements such as 'you don't do this' or 'you forgot to do that' - we may be better served by reminding both ourselves and the people we're criticising by saying 'I feel that...' or 'I thought that...'.”

“Talking about our thoughts and feelings is often a more effective entry point into a constructive discussion than claiming we know what another person's intentions were."