STUDY: Consumers Punish Brands for Failing to Respond (Very) Promptly on Twitter

Any brand that fails to respond promptly and effectively to consumer interactions and complaints via Twitter had better prepare for a public 140-character shaming.

Research just released by Lithium Technologies based on a study by Millward Brown Digital shows that while consumers will reward brands that utilize Twitter to meet their rising expectations, they will just as soon punish those that fail to respond quickly enough. Just how promptly do consumers expect these responses? You might be surprised.

Fifty-three percent of consumers who expect a brand to respond to their Tweet want that response in less than an hour. When those consumers are tweeting complaints, that figure skyrockets to a whopping 72 percent. Talk about instant gratification!

Failing to meet this tight deadline can result in major consequences; when these expectations aren’t met, 38 percent of customers polled feel more negatively toward the offending brand, while 60 percent will take unpleasant actions to express their dissatisfaction. A whole 74 percent of customers who take to social media to shame brands believe it leads to better service.

The upside to this is that brands that do make effective and timely use of their Twitter accounts to respond to consumers can reap some serious benefits:

  • 34 percent are likely to buy more from that company
  • 43 percent are likely to encourage friends and family to buy their products
  • 38 percent are more receptive to their advertisements
  • 42 percent are willing to praise or recommend the brand through social media

“It’s time for brands to wake up and realize that social response is the new real-time marketing,” Lithium president and chief executive officer Rob Tarkoff said, in a news release. “Brands must meet their customers in their venue of choice—Twitter—and a slow or silent response simply isn’t an option. With 57 percent of consumers unlikely to spend with you again after a negative experience, those could be the most expensive 140 characters a brand ever ignores.”

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