Social Business
Mar 19, 2013

Social Media Customer Service Sorely Lacking, Study Shows

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Social media customer service is in many ways the perfect marriage of technology, convenience and general best practices for general customer service — but most companies are patchy at best with their strategy, which is downright puzzling in 2013.

One of the benefits of social media customer service is the user friendly and far less daunting medium. Customers can far more easily log on to Facebook or Twitter for assistance and bypass swamped call lines that are generally only accessible at precisely the same times we all happen to be at work or working.

So why hasn’t social media customer service caught on? It has to a degree, and the companies that rock it out with consistency do so to great effect — allowing their base of consumers to view in real time how stellar they are with treating valued consumers.

But nearly half of companies don’t even bother to acknowledge customer queries on Facebook and Twitter, with an incomplete at best approach to social media customer service — strange considering that unlike a private phone call, letter or email, everyone who logs on can usually see the floating post.

LiveOps, a customer service company, commissioned the research, and Natalie Petouhoff, a business consultant and lecturer at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, commented on some of the data she collected. Petouhoff says:

You’re destroying your brand by not responding … Companies are going to wonder where they went wrong and went down the drain.

Far from a minor problem, the research found that when it comes to social media customer service, more than 70 percent of queries went ignored. A third of companies went so far as to delete evidence of a customer interaction, and average waiting time in a medium marked by its urgency was a stunning two days.

Petouhoff explains that companies tend to “stick their head in the sand and they think if they’re not looking it’s not happening” when it comes to social media customer service, but they ought not to — customers are 30 percent more likely to commit dollars to a brand that is present and attentive on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.