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Study: Social media may ease negative word-of-mouth impact

Ann Arbor, Mich. -- A study released Tuesday by customer feedback management firm CFI Group found that social media may be blunting the impact of negative word-of-mouth.

According to the findings of its annual Call Center Satisfaction Index, CFI Group said that social media commentary after a call center experience can have a counter-intuitive impact.

“What we are seeing is that, if you have a bad experience, you post it once on Facebook for all to see and then you're done with it,” said Terry Redding, director of development and delivery for CFI Group. “By the same token, we are seeing good experiences posted in the same way. In fact, we’ve observed that positive comments generally outweigh negative ones almost as a rule.”

While a bad experience may increase the odds that someone will tell others, the sheer number of positive experiences and positive posts seems to be outweighing the negative word-of-mouth in volume.

Another key finding in this year’s report, said CFI, was the shift to self-service, particularly via the web. In 2011, 27% of respondents had tried to resolve their issues elsewhere prior to resorting to working with the call center. The primary alternate channel was the web.

“This is the first year since we've fielded that study that we’ve seen a decrease in overall score on the private sector side,” said Redding. “We feel the drop is due to an increasing number of easier calls being offloaded to self-service channels like the web, leaving the more complex cases going to the call centers.”

© 2014