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BizReport : Social Marketing : October 30, 2013

Reports: Get those Twitter response times down, or pay the price

Two new studies, out from Interakt Digital Communications Group and Lithium Group, find Twitter an increasingly important tool for brands. Social media, specifically Twitter, is an area where brands can go above and beyond for their users by responding to questions and offering relevant content - or pay the price in lost customers because of non-responses.

by Kristina Knight

First, from Interakt, data shows bout 68% of consumers want their wireless service to respond to tweets within three hours. For providers like AT&T & T-Mobile, which hold an average Twitter response times of about 30 minutes this is good, but others are having trouble. Verizon takes an average of 20 hours to respond, for instance, while Sprint takes just over 3 hours as their average response time.

Other interesting findings include:
• One-fifth of consumers have followed and then unfollowed a wireless carrier because 'the content wasn't interesting'
• Most who do 'follow' are doing so for promotional deals, company updates and customer support
• One-third of people say they'll 'consider switching' if their social media questions go unanswered

What's the big deal about social media response times? While a three hour response rate may seem simple enough to meet, two of the Big 4 wireless brands are not meeting that goal, and their consumer base knows it. Add to that the fact that wireless users have unfollowed their carrier because their social media profile 'wasn't interesting' and a trend of dissatisfaction begins to develop.

Meanwhile, the Lithium data echoes Interakt's but across the field, not just in wireless. According to their data 53% of consumers want a response to a tweeted question within an hour and when the question is more of a complaint, 72% want a response within an hour. Those who aren't responded to say they will express their issues publicly.

"It's time for brands to wake up and realize that social response is the new real-time marketing," Lithium President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Tarkoff said. "Brands must meet their customers in their venue of choice - Twitter - and a slow or silent response simply isn't an option. With 57 percent of consumers unlikely to spend with you again after a negative experience, those could be the most expensive 140 characters a brand ever ignores."

Other interesting findings include:

• 74% will 'shame' brands on social media because 'it leads to better service'
• 43% say they'll encourage friends/family to buy from brands with good social media response times
• 42% say they'll publicly praise the brand on social media for responding to questions/concerns
• 38% say they're 'more receptive' to brands with good social-customer service

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: customer service, Interakt, Lithium Group, social marketing, social tips, social tools

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