Survey: Social media leave you unsatisfied

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Research on customer satisfaction has revealed something rather peculiar: social media, the thing that has increasingly come to define our lives, isn’t especially well-liked by its users. That is according to the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey, released today.

The annual report on social media breaks things down by several popular outlets, like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. To the surprise of perhaps nobody, LinkedIn comes in at dead last among the measured social media channels. More surprising is that Facebook ties LinkedIn at the bottom of the barrel for customer satisfaction.

At the top of the list is Pinterest, who has a sizable lead on the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Just behind Pinterest is Wikipedia, which is probably deemed social to the extent that people use it to discuss edits and information on individual pages. I do not believe that the average reader of Wikipedia would be included in that figure.

ASCI uses a complex system created at the University of Michigan to calculate a score for customer satisfaction. It uses the following parameters:

  • Perceived quality
  • Customer expectations
  • Perceived value
  • Customer complaints
  • Customer loyalty

The first three are causes of customer satisfaction and treated as such. The latter two (complaints and loyalty) are results of customer satisfaction, whether high or low. The issue of value is probably particularly problematic for LinkedIn, since they sell service, opening them up to raised expectations and disappointment over meager returns for customer dollars.

Among all the industries tested, social media fell near the bottom, despite the fact that hardly anyone spends money to access the services, in contrast to nearly everything else ASCI benchmarks.

Some of the industries that had more satisfied customers than social media are ones that don’t exactly have a great reputation for happy customers:

  • United States Postal Service
  • Cell phone providers
  • Hotels
  • Internet news and opinion sites (shoutout!)

To me, this seems related to other research about how we like to put our best face on for social networking. Seeing all these people who appear to be successful, happy, and important can make you feel pretty bummed out. Think of LinkedIn, for a less obvious example: your friend might be Project Manager at [cool-sounding company], but you are oblivious to the fact that they are really just doing grunt work for $20,000 a year.

Another study done on Facebook users found that people who use it a lot are likely to experience conflicts with romantic partners related to their usage, whether it be the amount of use or the nature of it (“why did you like that bikini photo?”). Real-life arguments probably reduce our satisfaction.

Do you have any other ideas about why people aren’t satisfied with social media? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image by Jason Howie (Flickr).

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Tags: Facebook Linkedin Pinterest Research Social Media Technology Twitter Wikipedia

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