Top 10 Companies With the Most Customer Service Complaints on Twitter: AT&T Worst, Apple Sixth
We analyzed thousands of customer service complaints on Twitter (from 13 Aug 2010 to 16 Aug 2010), to find out which corporations caused the most frustration.
Data was first collected from the Twitter Search API, using a search for “customer service” together with any one of: fail, sucks, worst, poor, bad, terrible or awful. Tweets that included links were filtered out, as were re-tweets, to maximize the likelihood of personal experiences and reduce tweets about articles or stories (e.g. Jet Blue, Santander and O2 customer service stories were prevalent over the survey period).
The extracted tweets were placed into an Excel spreadsheet and manually verified over the course of a day, to check the validity of the complaints (i.e. to ensure that tweets like “I’ve never received bad customer service from X” weren’t included), and to extract the correct names of corporations (i.e. some people use the full company name, others use Twitter usernames, hash-tags, or abbreviations). Where described in the tweet, we also recorded the cause of the frustration, e.g. slow service or rudeness.
Over 500 unique businesses were mentioned, including many local stores and services. The winner (or, rather, loser) is undoubtedly AT&T, whose customer service complaints occupy over 5% of the total volume of our survey. In fact, the telecommunications industry receives the most complaints, as is evident from the top 10 graph (companies 11 and 12, not shown, are also in this industry: Vodafone and Rogers). Perhaps ironically, there seem to be as many “I’ve had enough of AT&T customer service, I’m switching to Verizon” tweets as “I’ve had enough of Verizon customer service and am switching to AT&T“. As consumers, we just can’t seem to win.
Apple, the largest US company in the top 10, rank sixth, with the majority of complaints about in-store customer service.
The reason for the customer service complaint was evident in 22% of the survey tweets; we divided these into seven categories:
- Slow. Approximately 40% of the complaint-reasons mentioned wait times, being put on hold, or otherwise having a difficult time reaching the relevant people.
- Rude. 17% thought that the customer service representative had been rude to them.
- Money. 12% mentioned a financial reason for the poor customer service, usually hidden charges or a refusal to reimburse.
- Care. 11% felt that the customer service rep didn’t care about their problem.
- Clueless. 10% thought that the service was incompetent or lacking in appropriate knowledge.
- Quality. 5% mentioned a product or service quality reason, rather than a specific customer service reason.
- Language. 5% of the complaint-reasons noted a communication problem with the representative, usually referring to outsourced call centers.
Although many of these complaint reasons are undoubtedly caused by cost-savings (slow response, inappropriate training or outsourced support), it is surprising that almost a third of complaints are made because of rude behavior or a feeling that the customer service representative didn’t care – complaints that could probably be avoided with a little grace, tact and minimal financial investment.
If you’ve recently experienced poor customer service, you should add a groubal now. A groubal is a complaint petition – we will fight for the most popular petitions on your behalf, by taking the issue direct to the business and demanding answers.
This guest blog post was written by Dan Zambonini from Content Strategy agency Contentini.