As the dust settles following the Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness, now is the time customers start to complain.

New research from financial comparison website money.co.uk1 reveals that almost three out of four (74%) customers that use social media to complain to a company get a response within 24 hours.

This compares with just 40% of those who choose to complain via more traditional methods like email or letter.

If you need your complaint resolved super quick, 39% of social media 'moaners' get a response within an hour, compared to 19% of those using the 'official route'.

Social shaming is popular among the under 25s with over a third (36%) claiming they use social media to lodge complaints with companies if they are unhappy - for 16% of these it's their first port of call.

For those that use social media to raise a grievance, 57% quite rightly claim it's the quickest way to get a response.

A further 40% say it's cheaper and quicker than calling customer services and 35% do not think companies make it easy to complain through other channels.

One in four do not have time to write letters of complaint and 19% of social media 'moaners' think it's a great way to jump the complaints queue.

The most popular channel for complaints is Facebook with almost one in five (18%) using this channel. Just one in ten take to Twitter; maybe 140 characters just isn't enough complaint space.

When it comes to the frequency of complaints, 24% have complained on social media up to five times in the past 12 months.

Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief of money.co.uk, comments

"Complaining over social media seems to be the quickest way to get your problem sorted.

"Wrong doings are exposed and companies want to be seen fixing them fast. This isn't right: all complaints should be treated equal and have the same amount of manpower behind them no matter how they're lodged.

"Organisations really need to address their customer service priorities and create a level playing field for all customers. It's not fair that people not using social media are losing out.

"You can't blame anyone for social shaming, understandably people just want their issue sorted as quickly as possible. If you need help quickly or haven't had any joy calling or writing it's definitely worth a try.

"Companies clearly need to up their game if they don't want frustrated customers to shout about their problems publicly."

Hannah's top ten tips to get your complaint resolved;

  1. Make your complaint official: Email the company explaining what went wrong, how you lost out and what you'd like them to do about it first. This way they'll treat it as a 'proper' complaint.

  2. Stick to the facts: Explain your problem in detail; give names, dates and copies of any proof.

  3. Know your rights: You have clear rights as a consumer, arm yourself with the facts so you know what you're entitled to and tell the company how they've broken them. Our guides give you full details.

  4. No response? Try emailing a second time. If you don't hear back, give them a nudge on social. If someone responds make a note of their name just in case.

  5. Don't waste your time: Companies' social media accounts are often managed by marketing departments who will simply ask you to contact the customer service team. Check to see how they've responded to others' complaints before you post.

  6. Don't make personal information public: Never post personal information on social media, even if it is about a complaint. The company should arrange a secure way of sharing the finer details.

  7. Don't name and shame staff publicly: It's best to send your grievances about employees direct to the company instead.

  8. Eight weeks and still no word? As long as you've logged an official complaint with the company you can go to an Ombudsman. The same is true if you're not happy with how they've handled your complaint.

  9. If your complaint relates to a purchase over 100 and you paid by credit card you could get your money back by making a Section 75 claim; if you paid by debit card then a Chargeback claim may be an option.

Notes to Editors:
1.A survey of 3,327 consumers who was carried out across the money.co.uk consumer opinion panel from the 16th to the 19th November 2015.