Twitter Finds Faster Responses Lead To Greater Revenue

Chris CrumBusiness

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These days, more and more people are reaching out to businesses on social media channels seeking customer service. On Twitter, they expect businesses to be listening, and they expect to be helped in a timely fashion. That doesn't always happen, but businesses that make it happen stand to reap significant benefits.

Are quick responses on Twitter a priority for your business? Discuss.

Twitter partnered with Applied Marketing Science on some research on customer service. They specifically looked at public interactions between airlines and their customers.

The main takeaway, according to the company, is that prompt customer service "really does pay off". It found that customers who received replies from airlines on Twitter were ultimately more satisfied with their experience and were more willing to recommend the airline and pay more money for a ticket in the future.

Interestingly, the faster the response, the more customers were willing to pay. This is obviously something to take into great consideration.

"When a customer Tweeted a question or complaint to an airline and received a response, they were willing to pay almost $9 on average more for that airline," says Wayne Huang from Twitter's research team. "At a time when air travel is highly competitive and fares from one airline are nearly identical to others, a single friendly Tweet can provide a quantifiable competitive edge. For context, compare this $9 in goodwill to the various fees that airlines routinely charge flyers, such as $7 or more for a snack, $10 for a pillow, or $15 for priority boarding."

"When we looked across all Tweets, the median time to first response was approximately 22 minutes (some airlines did respond in as few as 3 seconds)," Huang added. "We found that when an airline responded to a customer’s Tweet in less than 6 minutes, the customer was willing to pay almost $20 more for that airline in the future. By contrast, when the airline took longer than an hour to respond to the Tweet, the customer was willing to pay only $2.33 more for that airline in the future."

Another noteworthy finding (although the source is worth considering) is that responding to tweets specifically drove higher satisfaction than responses via other customer service channels.

The company notes that satisfied Twitter users also "spread the word" with 82% those who received a response form an airline on Twitter having shared their positive experience with others.

Of course this is all just looking at public interactions. Earlier this year, Twitter expanded the character limit on direct messages making Twitter better for private customer interactions as well.

Study after study has shown that companies really aren't doing a very good job at customer service on either Twitter or Facebook. It's clear that this needs to change.

Last month, a Sprout Social study found that 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.

Speaking of Facebook, by the way, that company announced some new customer service-related features this week. Business pages can now set the average time it takes for their them to reply to messages. This could be "within minutes, "within an hour," "within hours," or "within a day." In addition to that, Facebook has improved the way Page admins access conversations with people. More on all of this here.

Do you find customer service interactions to work better on Facebook or Twitter? Any difference? Which do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Images via Thinkstock, Twitter

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.