New research has shown that 76 per cent of respondents who heard about a bad customer experience via social media intentionally stopped doing business with or avoided doing business with the offending company.

The survey by customer relationship management expert Convergys also revealed that 83 per cent of customers that had a bad experience with an organisation told friends or colleagues.

The findings of its annual customer service scorecard show that of the respondents who said they told friends or colleagues of a bad experience, 16 percent used social media and 8 percent used texting.

Companies will also be alarmed by evidence of the growing influence that reading about negative customer experiences online has on customer behaviour.

Fuelled in part by the growing popularity of online review sites and wikis, as well as more traditional forms of social media, 35 per cent of customer survey respondents said they had read about a bad customer experience during the last six months on a social media channel.

“Advancements in Internet services mean we now live in an era of instant results and personalised attention,” said David Lopes, director of technology and business development at Convergys. “Although consumers aren’t willing to pay extra for customer service, they are more empowered than ever to complain.

“And consumers’ increasing affinity with social media means new emerging communications channels are likely to be the hottest venting ground for impatient customers irritated by a lack of resolution from a given company.”