Are Your Customers Turning to Reddit Instead of Your Customer Support?

phone in pocket with reddit logo on it

Are Your Customers Turning to Reddit Instead of Your Customer Support?

Customers want answers. Many distrust traditional outlets including customer service centers and company support websites. Sites like Reddit are popular because they provide something powerful:  a platform to share information on a particular topic with others directly from anywhere in the world. For customers seeking resolution, the direct experience of another customer can be more helpful than a company’s poor, time-sucking service merry-go-round. Your customers turn to places like Reddit when they can’t (or fear they can’t) get resolution through your company support channels.

The Vastness of Reddit

Reddit has a thread for everything. There are general categories of interest like tech, health, and books, and niche communities (aka subreddits)  dedicated to a single book, movie, show, or game. Then there’s the funny to the bizarre, like a subreddit for chess humor (self explanatory) and one for pictures of bread stapled to trees (yes, people actually staple bread, toasted or not, to trees and take pictures of it. Click the post below to view an example. ) 

Getting Customer Service from Other Customers on Reddit

There are many useful subreddits where contributors share their knowledge (and opinions) freely. That knowledge can offer a faster, easier solution or act as a warning to avoid a company. Other times it just makes fellow customers feel less alone in their horrible experiences with a brand. In short, these subreddits are offering better customer service than some companies are..

There are subreddits specifically about customer service, including the aptly named Customer Service (posts from both customers and service people), and  Tales from the Customer(a large community of positive and negative posts). 
Many customer support posts are on subreddits specific to the company though, like this one for Cubase stating customer service took 19 days just to respond to the customer request (19 days!). In that thread another commenter, a customer of the brand for years, says they are better off seeking help from this subreddit or another forum rather than company customer service.

The Positive Side of Customer Experience on Reddit

Customers want to like brands. They are looking for products and services for a reason. They want those products and services to fill a need they have and fill it well. When they find such a brand they want to praise it. There are even praising comments among the negative threads too. On the subreddit, “What companies can go f*** themselves” (FYI it’s labeled NSFW, likely for language), there was a thread started about quality companies:

The commenters took up the challenge and offered praising comments like this one for Lego:

Who is in Charge of your Brand Perception?

Forums like Reddit are part of the magic of the internet. People helping each other and sharing their knowledge is, in many ways, a good thing. However, when customers gather publicly outside of your brand desperately searching for solutions or just to commiserate over terrible service from your company, it damages your brand perception.

Brands with monopolies are less affected by this negative marketing than others. But smaller companies, midsize companies or those trying to scale can take a hit. Better to start with a solid customer service plan than to try to fix a bad one later.

Speaking of fixing things, damage control is important for brands. Do you have strategies in place to monitor your brand perception and address it when it is poor? Are you using this kind of information from customers to build a better experience?

Customers Are United in Bad Service Experiences

From a poster on Reddit: “Thanks to all who shared their stories! It’s horrible that we all have to be united by such hatred towards a company that has ripped off and screwed over so many patients. Although of course you don’t ever wish this upon any other person it’s always nice to hear that you aren’t alone and that you have others to understand the bullshit you have had to endure. Companies like this love to gaslight you like you are the one being unreasonable for not just handing them over whatever money they demand or not being understanding that mistakes are made, reading comments from others reminds you that you are absolutely not being unreasonable, that the company is.

Humans like to know they aren’t alone, especially in negative experiences. People bond over them. You don’t want them bonding over hating your brand. 

The bottom line is bad customer service is a money sieve with research showing US companies lose billions of dollars yearly to poor service. Customer service can be a revenue generator.  According to McKinsey research, brands can expect a 10-15% increase in revenue by creating better customer experience

Is Reddit getting a better CSAT score than you?