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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 26, 2015

Twitter responses to customer queries slow and sloppy

Yet more research reveals low, slow and sloppy responses to customer queries made on social media. BDRC Continental's research focuses on responses via Twitter.

by Helen Leggatt

Recent studies from Webhelp, Eptica and Quintly have all uncovered the poor response times and response rates of brands to social media queries from consumers. This continues even in the face of increasing consumer desire to communicate with brands and businesses via social channels.

The latest findings come from BDRC's Continental's mystery shopping service, Twystery, which assesses the performance of brands' handling of customer queries through Twitter, a channel used by around 15 million UK consumers. The research looked at a brand's social media response rate, speed and quality to ascertain performance.

The results revealed that, of the 900 Tweets sent to 30 brands, 84% were responded to, which means a sixth went ignored. Supermarkets had the best overall response rate (98%) followed by banks and financial brands (97%). However, even brands within the same sector had diverse response rates. While one subscription TV provider responded to 93% of Tweets, another responded to just 63%.

Response times ranged from a respectable 1 hour 5 minutes to a tedious 19 hours 47 minutes.

Observations from replies received during the exercise include the use of sloppy grammar, typos and inconsistent tone of voice.

"This is not to say that all social media responses must read like The Times but if your response appears rushed, impatient or, worst of all, lazy, you are conveying the impression that you don't value the enquirer," writes Tim Barber, director at BDRC Continental, on the company blog.

Furthermore, many responses were too casual, lacked links and some even failed to answer the original question.

"As people increasingly use Twitter to contact brands hoping for a quick response, it's important that brands benchmark their performance to see what service consumers are experiencing elsewhere," said Barber. "Twitter offers a great platform to improve customer engagement levels and deliver excellent brand service, but as we've seen, some of Britain's biggest brands are falling behind. In our research, financial services providers and supermarkets can be rightly proud of their performance on Twitter - let's hope the others can catch up."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: customer engagement, response times, social media, Twitter

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