Why do some businesses get more flack on social media than others?

La Tomatina / Spain, Buñol
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Why do some businesses get more flack on social media than others?

A couple of months ago, I read an article on bnet called: 5 Businesses That Will Live (Or Die) By Social Media.

In the article Christopher Elliott talks about a Clickfox survey that identified five industries more than any otehrs where customers have sought customer service via social media.

The industries identified by the survey were:

  • Retail,
  • Phone,
  • Travel,
  • Cable/TV company; or
  • Banking

I read this and wondered why all of these industries would be on there.

Here’s what struck me:

  • Retail is all about spending our hard earned cash to be able to get the things that we want. Everything from food to clothes to gifts to household items etc. Oh, and retail traditionally has a public face.
  • Phones, whether mobile or landline, are now essential to modern life, to keep us in touch via voice, data and messages.
  • Travel could be business or pleasure. Both of which are important. One allows us to do our jobs and earn income and the other is when we save up and go places that we’ve always wanted to go, take the family on holiday, visit family or just get away for a break.
  • Cable/TV is still one of the most important ways that we get our news and entertainment in our homes. Many people bundle can get their phone and internet via their cable company too.
  • Banking or more broadly, financial services, helps us buy, save and protect the things that matter to us.

Why are these industries more important than others? It seems to me that if we step back and understand it from a customers perspective then we will see that most, if not all, of these industries are important if not essential elements, tools and facilities in our modern lives. They are not just things that we buy. They impact our lives, both business and personal, our ability to live them and to do the things that we want to do.

Take those facilities away and it materially affects the way that we can conduct our lives.

Hence, the disproportionate noise from customers about failures or poor customer service in these industries.

These industries won’t get less important over time and social media will only amplify customers reactions. Therefore, to companies in those sectors, I would say:

Get better quick or get used to the tomato throwing!

6 comments On Why do some businesses get more flack on social media than others?

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  • Hello Adrian
    Maybe they get more flack because these industries are not only the ones that customers are sensitive to but also because these industries do a poor job in terms of delivering to customer needs and defects are easy for customers to see.


    • Hi Maz,
      That is all true. I guess what I was trying to get at, and maybe not doing it so well, was to try and understand why we complain (and expect) so much from these industries. Is it not just about them being rubbish, at times, but is it also about how integrated they have become into the fabric of our very lives.


  • Hi Adrian, I think it comes down to competition. The industries you talk about have a number of very large players, it is difficult for newbies to muscle in, so they don’t care too much.

    I wonder though how things will change. I hear great things about Giff Gaff. Maybe things will change.


    • Hi James,
      That’s a really interesting take. You believe their market position and incumbency breeds complacency.

      Perhaps there is hope, however. Both Giff Gaff and First Direct are both owned by incumbent players. Do you think these are their ‘lab’ divisions and they will eventually take over or are they just units set up to cater for a particular type of customer?


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