Customers take to social for service but is anyone listening?

28th Jul 2013

Customers are increasingly turning to social media to resolve service issues but new research has revealed that only a minority of businesses are providing fast and satisfactory responses. 

Conversocial evaluated 10 companies for its first Social Customer Service Benchmark report, analysing over 140,000 social conversations over a three month period across Facebook and Twitter to develop the Social Customer Service Benchmark, and found that the majority of customer conversations on social media are negative.

According to the figures, just 3% of conversations regarding urgent and immediate issues were positive whilst 12% were negative whist communication regarding customers’ experience with a product or service were more negative (27%) than positive (23%).

The report also provided a benchmark score for retailers, supermarkets, hospitality, travel and telecoms, which saw online retailer ASOS take the crown with a score of 98 out of 100. Tesco followed in second place with 84, followed by KLM (72), Virgin Atlantic (72), T Mobile (72) and Premier Inn (59).

Conversocial recorded 193,947 conversations about ASOS with 23% of these found to be customer-service focused and the biggest customer concern shown to be deliveries.

Drawing conclusions, the analysis revealed a recurring theme of customer dissatisfaction with companies for failing to acknowledge and act upon their concerns and questions.

Additionally, the report found that customers are using social to bring an entirely new range of issues to companies’ attention. Whether these are direct or indirect, customers are sharing experiences and feedback at a much earlier stage on social channels, thanks to the ease of this medium for sharing. In this respect, social media becomes both the first and last port of call for attracting brands’ attention.

And not only are consumers raising issues earlier, presenting social teams with the opportunity to prevent negative sentiment from escalating – but they are turning to social media as a last resort when other channels have failed them, said the report.

ASOS, Tesco and T-Mobile performed significantly better than their competitors, by not only responding faster but interacting with a wider range of customer conversations whilst those ranked worst are those still yet to fully develop an effective strategy that brings high-profile social channels above and beyond the level of traditional communication channels, said the report.  

IBM’s social customer care management consultant Guy Stephens said of the findings: “This benchmark report from Conversocial brings a serious level of scrutiny to social customer care. This is something the marketplace desperately needs, to start following in the footsteps of pioneering businesses that are setting standards for public, transparent customer care, which is evolving with customers to meet their expectations today.

“Now, like never before, customer service is directly correlated to stronger customer retention, competitive sales strategies and longevity of brand reputation.”

Last month, examined social customer service in detail, looking at the strategy, tools, metrics and structure organisations need to effectively provide customer service via social channels. 

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