New research from Lithium Technologies has found a significant discrepancy between the response times of the UK’s leading supermarkets to Twitter customer service queries.
Waitrose comes out top, responding to requests within an average of 1hr 13mins.
Morrisons was slowest, taking an average of 6 hrs 34mins.
However, the research, which formed part of Lithium’s State of Social Engagement report, found that brands were, in general, working hard to improve their customer service capabilities on the microblogging network.
Further research backs this up. A 2016 Eptica study, for instance, highlighted that social network queries are now answered more readily than email in most businesses, with Twitter (48% success rate) and Facebook (44%) more accurate and faster at delivering responses.
However, the rate of response is still failing to match increasing consumer expectation. Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) people turn to social media before any other channel when a complicated problem arises and perhaps surprisingly, 14% turn to it first in a crisis – like when a flight is cancelled.
Social Baker 2015 data highlighted that average response times on Twitter dropped from 8 hours 37 minutes in 2014 to 5 hours 27 minutes in 2015, consumer expectations are for this to drop further still, to less than an hour.
In October, Twitter announced a new chatbot API that would allow brands to automate their responses on the social network, to help ease some of the congestion. Among the brands already using the service is Tesco, which failed to make Lithium’s list.
“With the holiday rush right around the corner, it’s a crucial time for retail brands to ramp up their social strategy,” said Katy Keim, CMO of Lithium Technologies.
“The results of our study show that the brands responding to customers quickly and creating personalised experiences on social to guide their purchases do well in boosting customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately, sales.”
Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.