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Social media customer support failing to meet consumer expectations - report

24th Jun 2015
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Only 2% of customers choose social media as their preferred means of contacting brands’ customer support teams because all too often they have to wait ages for a response and frequently do not receive one at all.

These are the findings of a survey undertaken by management consulting firm The Northridge Group, which also revealed that in a third of cases, social customer support failed to meet their expectations.

This was because just under two thirds of respondents had to get in touch twice to get a reply, while 10% needed to ask four or more times. For 37% of people, it took more than a week to have their issue resolved, while 44% never heard anything back at all - ever.

In order to validate the research, social media analytics software provider Locowise also decided to evaluate more than 900 Facebook pages during May, which had accrued nearly 300 million pages likes in total. Of those pages, the vendor focused on the 51% that enabled people to publish posts on their timelines.

Its first finding was that it was rare for people to post on timelines full stop – on average, there was only one post per 22,500 likes that the page received.

A huge 87% of all posts across the board went unanswered, while pages with the publishing facility enabled responded in only 35% of cases. Brands with active pages replied to 37% of all posts.

As for response times, 33% took place within an hour; 12% within one to two hours; 15% within two to four hours and 9% within four to eight hours. The remaining 10% took eight to 12 hours and 21% took 12 to 24 hours.

Because Locowise in its white paper entitled “The State of Customer Service Experience” indicated that “most brands in our study didn’t impress”, it decided to highlight the top five that responded the most as they “deserve credit”. These were:

  • Vodafone – 94 responses and an 86% response rate.
  • Domino’s Pizza – 121 responses and a 73% response rate.
  • Nando’s – 43 responses and a 66% response rate.
  • Virgin Media – 111 responses and a 53% response rate.
  • Missguided – 52 responses and a 31% response rate.

The firm also provided these recommendations:

  • If you don’t plan to review and respond to posts on your Facebook page, disable the publishing facility as it does not look good to enable it and ignore most or all of the posts that you receive.
  • Responses can be simple and don’t need to take a long time to write – you can simply thank customers for their feedback or point them to the Frequently Asked Question section of your website.
  • Think about how to integrate your customer support team into your social media activities. For example, you could allow team members to access your Facebook page and seek out posts to respond to. Or simply email them questions and have them send answers back to you, while posting a message in the interim saying that you are ‘looking into the issue’.
  • Ideally each post should be acknowledged, but if this is not possible, at least reply to those that raise concerns or complain about your product or service.

Replies (2)

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By PaulineAshenden
07th Jul 2015 09:26

Unfortunately these results replicate similar research Eptica carried out with 100 top UK brands earlier this year. While 81% of companies were on Twitter, just 41% successfully responded to a customer service tweet, meaning that over half failed to give a satisfactory answer. On average, six out of ten sectors replied slower than in 2014 – more on the results at

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By salujakbs
14th Apr 2017 12:56

The increased use of social media in every person's life today, and failure of businesses to deliver a desired support on the same platforms has given rise to certain end-user expectations. If companies need to cater to their customers' expectations and gain a competitive edge against their competitor brands, they need to understand expectations and improve their support service. Would like to share a blog explaining what customer expectations should companies take care of, in order to deliver an effective social media support.

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