Twitter is for Complainers

No one ever built a monument to a critic, but on Twitter, a well-crafted complaint should at least result in some attention from the "complainee" - and it better be fast according to Twitter users.

New survey research from Lithium Technologies reveals that consumers will reward brands that use Twitter to meet their expectations, but punish those that fail to respond in a timely manner. The Lithium research indicates that customers have rather high expectations when it comes to response times. Fifty-three percent expect a response in less than an hour but the percentage increases to 72 percent when a complaint is involved. Should brands fail to respond fast enough, they'll suffer the consequences - 38 percent feel more negative about the brand and 60 percent will take unpleasant actions to express their dissatisfaction.

There is some good news however. When brands provide a timely response, 38 percent are more likely to buy more from the company, 43 percent are likely to encourage others to buy their products and 42 percent are willing to praise or recommend the brand through social media.

"It's time for brands to wake up and realize that social response is the new real-time marketing," Lithium President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Tarkoff said. "Brands must meet their customers in their venue of choice - Twitter - and a slow or silent response simply isn't an option. With 57 percent of consumers unlikely to spend with you again after a negative experience, those could be the most expensive 140 characters a brand ever ignores."