SURVEY: Most Brands Aren’t Ready for Customer Service on Social


Two facts we’ve established:

  • Social media should be the new customer service line for all digitally forward brands
  • PR should own it

OK, maybe that second point is debatable. But the first is not—and a new study from Social Media Marketing University reveals that most brands either haven’t gotten the message or haven’t acted on it.

Some key numbers and takeaways from the press release (issued to promote registration for Monday’s “live training event“) after the jump…

  • More than 50% of brands do not have a formal strategy for responding to customer complaints on social
  • A majority of brands receive complaints on social (duh), with 10.9% reporting them “somewhat often” and 4.9% “very often” (do these numbers feel small to you?)
  • 15.2% report losing customers thanks to negative social posts by others and 26.2% say their reputations have been “tarnished” by the same

Here are the most important ones:

  • 24.5% of respondents are “in the process of developing” a social customer service policy
  • 7.6% have a formal strategy in place but call it “ineffective”
  • 23.4% don’t have a strategy and don’t plan to develop one either, thank you very much

Lest we forget, customers also happen to be incredibly impatient. In past surveys, the public has revealed that it expects responses to complaints within the hour, but only 17.5% of companies even try to meet this standard because what can a few pissed off tweeters do, anyway? (Beware of the online petition…)

One in five brands never respond to direct complaints at all. We can’t for the life of us figure out why, though we have a feeling the word “silo” is involved.

Here’s your graph:


For some examples of brands and orgs that are ready for social customer service, check out these healthcare case studies and our 2013 listicle (which is itching for an update).

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.