Businesses Really Need To Get Better At This (And Quick!)

Chris CrumBusiness

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Both Facebook and Twitter have been giving businesses more tools to improve their customer service efforts, but when it comes to responding to messages from consumers on social media, things just don't seem to be improving much.

Do you struggle to respond to messages on social media? What do you see as the biggest obstacles? What would make things easier? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Back in the summer, we looked at a study from Sprout Social finding that despite an increase in messages sent to brands on social media, 90% were going unanswered, which is a pretty disturbing stat.

Sprout Social is sharing some new findings, and says that retailers face an uphill battle when it comes to social media engagement. They put out a new study finding that the average retailer can expect 1,500 inbound messages in Q4, but 5 out of 6 of those messages will not get a prompt response.

It's not just a retailer issue though.

8 in 9 messages sent to brands across industries go unanswered within the first 72 hours, it says. Response times for brands across all industries have increased from 11 to 12 hours since the firm's previous quarterly social index. Retail is still one of the most responsive industries, behind utilities and ahead of banking and automotive, according to the data.

"Regardless of seasonal fluctuations, it’s important to monitor what people are saying about your brand, product category and industry at all times," Sprout Social says. "Social monitoring can be handled at scale with the right strategies and tools in place, ensuring you never miss a message. Remember, by actively listening and responding to people's concerns, you will be more likely to reach them with your promotional messages later on. Otherwise, your sales efforts will be akin to a cold call."

The study also gets into some interesting trends regarding Facebook and Twitter. During the past quarter, retail has seen 7% more inbound messages on Facebook than on Twitter. Still, retailers are sending out more messages on Twitter - 144% more than six months ago - and more on Facebook - only twice as many. Sprout believes retailers are misplacing their attention.

"Know where your audience is the most vocal," it says. "Naturally, the popularity of platforms will vary by brand. However, it's worth taking a deeper look at customer service on Facebook since it is generally where people are seeking answers from retailers."

SocialBakers also released some findings about social customer care claiming that demand rose in a big way in Q3 - and that's across both Twitter and Facebook.

According to that research, 75% of brand Pages on Facebook and 93% on Twitter didn't answer even half of the questions they received. That's a big problem.

On Facebook, it says, demand rose 9% from Q2, while on Twitter, demand rose by 6%. More on those findings here.

Do you think there is room for improvement in your social customer care strategy? Do you think customers should just be looking for help on other channels? Share your thoughts.

Image via Thinkstock

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.