While many brands are getting better at engaging audiences on social media, customer service still presents a challenge. According to a Simply Measured Analytics study about how top brands use Twitter for customer service, mentions of dedicated customer service accounts on are up 44 percent but the average response time is down 10 percent.
The study which analyzed the accounts of the top 100 global brands for the month of January 2014, discovered that only 32 of those brands have a dedicated customer service handle. The number of companies with customer service handles hasn’t changed, despite the data indicating that more consumers are turning to social for customer service needs.
According to the study, consumers see the customer service dedicated handle — such as @AmazonHelp or @AskAmex — as a legitimate way to interact with the brand. The good news is that brands are getting better at responding to customer service inquiries on Twitter. The bad news is that while brands are responding more frequently, the time it takes to respond has increased.
The study attributed the longer response times to social customer service teams simply having to manage a 208 percent increase in inbound requests on Twitter. Brands identified as “best-in-class” average an 83 percent response rate and, the best in this group managed an average 30-minute response time.
There are some shared practices that enable these best-in-class brands to manage their customer service handles efficiently.
- They manage how they respond: 23 percent of the time customers are directed to a brand web page; 17 percent of the time, customers are given information for contacting the brand directly by phone, mail or direct message. According to Simply Measured, this indicates that the brands best equipped for handling the influx of customer service requests rely heavily on “canned responses.”
- They manage when they respond: Obviously, service requests increase during business hours, so the best-in-class make sure their customer service Twitter handles are adequately staffed during hours of high request volume. Simply Measured also recommends that companies receiving a lot of after-hours requests add after-hours staff to respond to those requests.
Download the full study for more details, including a case study analyzing the success of @AskAmex.