Many retailers lagging in social media responses to customers’ issues

A report finds that many major brands have presences on online platforms, but reps either take too long or send customers to email or phone channels for resolutions.

If you’re among the 50 percent of U.S. online retailers that use social media for customer service, stand up and take a bow. If you take longer than two hours to respond, though, you probably should sit back down.

About 80 percent of top 100 U.S. online retailers are using Twitter and Facebook to respond to consumers, but according to a new study from Conversocial, the response times don’t satisfy customers.

The average response time across all 100 retailers is a sluggish 11 hours, 15 minutes — but more than 50 percent of consumers expect to get a response in less than two hours. The best response time clocked in at nine minutes; the worst was 50 hours. (Yes, more than two days.)

The study, based on overall performance factoring in six categories of social media customer service, found that on average 13.8 percent of complaints or questions garner responses. Three companies—Netflix, Amazon, and Sony—had response rates of more than 90 percent.

Many of the retailers analyzed are not using social media to fully resolve customer service issues, and instead are redirecting consumers to other channels such as phone banks or email. But 65 percent of customers say first contact resolution is the most important part of a good customer experience.

Deflecting customers who’ve come to your Facebook or Twitter feed after they’ve exhausted other options will probably create a public backlash, with customers threatening to take their business elsewhere.

More than 25 percent of customers actually change companies because they’re getting shuffled around among too many representatives, according to the American Express Customer Service Barometer.

Remember: Customer service on social media is public. Anything you say and how quickly you say it can have a major effect on your band, so make sure your company’s social media channels are staffed with qualified customer service agents.

You can download the full study here.

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