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Companies still get social customer service wrong

08.20.2013
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You would think brands would be wise to the use of social media as a method for wowing their customers by now wouldn’t you?  I mean social by itself should suggest the building of relationships, helping people out you care about and so on.  That research shows how customers that are engaged with you on social spend around 6% more should be all the confirmation you need.

Yet, new research by eDigitalResearch shows that brands are still really struggling when it comes to delivering customer service over the web.

The study saw 2,000 customers surveyed who had recently asked a company they had bought from a query about their purchase.  The answers weren’t great, especially for email.

They found that it was far from uncommon for emails to go unanswered for over 12 hours, with a whopping 63% of customers not even getting a response at all.

People generally did better when attempting to get in touch via social media, with 80% of customers getting a response.  These customers also managed to get a response in the fastest time.
Derek Eccleston, commercial director at eDigitalResearch, said: “Whilst there are still a limited number of consumers using social media channels to contact brands (our survey showed that just 2% have recently used their Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts to get in touch with a brand), it is currently the only channel that ensures all consumers receive a response following their contact.”

He added: “If a customer decides they need to contact a company, their experiences should be the same, not matter what channel they use. Obviously there are obstacles (such as the time delay with post) that some channels need to overcome or find a work around for. These results show there are currently major disparities across customer touchpoints – measures should be taken to ensure that departments and teams work together to provide the best contact experience possible. Improving the customer experience should be a business-wide operation.”

I would be interested to see the lifecycle of a complaint though.  Do people originally try emailing a company with their query, and only after a lack of response do they try their luck on social media?  Or is social media increasingly becoming the first port of call?

Research suggests that email and telephone remains the most popular means of seeking support, with social then turned to almost as a last resort.

So it seems that regardless of the channel used, there is still much for our companies to do in order to get their customer service up to scratch.  If you’re looking for the low down on social customer service, this guide from Salesforce is a good start point.

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