Is Your Social Media Customer Service Improving?

Chris CrumSocial Media

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Over the past decade, social media has presented businesses with a tremendous amount of opportunities to reach and engage with customers and potential customers in ways that were never before possible. You would think that by now social media-based customer service would be nearly flawless given all of the tools companies like Facebook and Twitter have launched over time.

Unfortunately, that's far from the case and many businesses continue to struggle living up to consumer expectations and sufficiently helping them with their issues and inquiries.

Do you find it difficult to keep up with customer service on Facebook and Twitter? What steps have you taken to improve in this area? Discuss in the comments.

Brands are getting better at responding to customers on Facebook, according to a new report from Socialbakers. According to the company, brands' question response rate has steadily risen since 2011, and during Q2, they answered 76% of all questions on Facebook.

There has been a 2.3% increase in customer demand over the quarter. Brands have gotten 8% better at responding, the study finds. They're also responding faster at about an average of less than 27 hours per past. This is still slower than consumers expect, and is an area that needs a great deal of improvement all around.

Telecom brands and airlines have long had the best response rates, but it does appear that other industries are starting to get the message to some extent.

Here's a look at question response distribution on Facebook by industry:


"Customers now expect their Telecom services to rapidly respond to all questions, but other industries need to step up their games," writes Socialbakers social media analyst Phillip Ross. "For engagement, it’s a particularly important consideration: while Socially Devoted Telecoms got more than twice as many interactions as non-Socially Devoted Telecoms in Q2 2015, Socially Devoted brands in some industries saw nearly six times more engagement than their counterparts."


"Despite all the excellent progress many brands are making at running social customer care on Facebook, we can’t say the same about their performance on Twitter," says Ross. "The average QRR for brands on Twitter in Q2 2015 was just 28%, declining from last quarter’s 29.67% QRR."

Facebook has been making it a point to encourage Pages to respond to customers. It's been testing a feature called Saved Replies, which lets businesses save replies that can be re-used to respond to various customer service queries. It has also been challenging Pages to get better at response times by showing Page admins how well they're doing when it comes to responding to messages from fans. It's even giving them badges for doing well.

Companies here in the U.S. are pretty terrible at responding on social media compared to those in other countries. The U.S. is near the bottom of the list for customer care on both Twitter and Facebook, according to another recent Socialbakers report. For Twitter, we ranked 33 out of 37. For Facebook, we tied with India for last.

“The US ranked 33rd out of the 37 countries, with US brands responding to only 18% of customer questions,” said Evan James, head of North American marketing at SocialBakers of the Twitter rankings. “Compare this to the average global Question Response Rate (QRR) of 30%. Of course, some US brands are providing great customer care on Twitter. A couple of examples are T-Mobile, whose @TMobileHelp handle received nearly 11,000 questions and responded to 75% of them, and Nike’s local branches (@NikeSF, @NikeBoston, @NikeSeattle, etc.), which maintained QRRs anywhere between 76% and 84%. But many major companies, like Domino’s Pizza (@Dominos) and Walmart (@Walmart), had low QRRs on Twitter: only 13%, and 18% respectively.”

“The US ranked 23rd out of the 24 countries — beating only India in our rankings,” he said of the Facebook rankings. “US brands had a response rate of 59%, compared to the average of 74% for all brands globally. US brands on Facebook with poor customer care included Nationwide Insurance, Wendy’s, and Samsung Mobile USA with response rates of 7%, 20%, and 18% respectively. Brands on Facebook with great customer care included many telecom companies — like Sprint with a QRR of 84% , T-Mobile (87%), AT&T (68%), and Verizon Wireless (72%).”

Businesses are generally falling behind on consumer expectations when it comes to social media. We recently looked at a Northridge Group study finding that consumers are basically using social media as a last resort for customer support, with twenty-six percent turning to these channels when they can’t reach a rep through another channel.

Another survey from Lithium Technologies found that 42% of business leaders claim that consumers shame them on social media. 82% of these executives, who are VP level and higher, say their customers have higher expectations compared to three years ago, and 60% say it’s hard to please them.

Do you have a hard time addressing customer issues on Twitter? Facebook? What do you see as the biggest obstacles? Let us know in the comments.

Charts via Socialbakers

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.