Social media has often been promoted as a way for brands to hear what customers are saying about them. However, it appears that many brands aren’t listening.

According to a YouGov survey (commissioned by social media monitoring company Brandwatch) brands are ignoring advice offered by consumers on Twitter and Facebook.

The survey, which questioned more than 2,000 British consumers about brand interaction, found that over a third of those who interact with brands through social media do so to complain.

However, education, not humiliation, is the greatest motivator for complaints. More than half of the respondents admitted to complaining because they want companies to learn from their mistakes — compared to the 17 percent who do it to publicly embarrass brands.

“Some people just love to complain — you can’t get away from that fact,” stated Giles Palmer, founder and CEO of Brandwatch. “But what our results also show is that consumers are sharing information via social media because they genuinely want brands to be better at what they do.”

Data from the Customer Service Index (CSI) 2012 (which ran in conjunction with the survey) revealed that although brands have had a year to learn from social media feedback, customer satisfaction levels haven’t improved.

Only three of the 40 brands studied received a score above zero, meaning their customer service experience was successful overall. More than half of all customer service experiences were reported as negative.

Individuals aren’t just turning to social media for complaints though. Forty-four percent use social media to request information. While it’s possible that some respondents didn’t put effort into their search, it can also be assumed that either the information wasn’t clear or easy to locate.

Additionally, more than a quarter of UK adults share information about the things they buy online, and almost one fifth discuss what they think about brands online. Whether positive or negative, engaging with feedback can go a long way to help your online reputation.

[Via: The Next Web, Image credit: hans van rijnberk]