According to a new study by SimplyMeasured, as more and more consumers use Twitter to reach out to brands for help and support, the world’s top brands are increasing their investment in customer service on the network. 30% of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands now have dedicated customer service handles, with the goal of resolving customer issues as quickly as possible.
Of the 30 brands identified, there were a few clear frontrunners in important categories. One of these frontrunners was The Ford Motor Company, whose
customer service handle is @FordService, supports the main brand accounts for both Ford and Lincoln; driving questions, concerns, and any other service issues away from their marketing-focused brand accounts.
A look at Ford’s data from the previous two weeks, and how they handle customer support on Twitter, shows the Customer Service workflow. Between @Ford, @LincolnMotorCo, and @FordService, the brand has been mentioned over 11,000 times in the last two weeks. Of the brand’s responses to tweets, 45% were from the customer service handle. Their average response time for the 1,100 responses posted was 7.4 hours across all channels.
The brand was mentioned 11,813 times and 45% of all responses were from the CS handle. There were 1,156 CS responses (9.8% of total mentions), 404 actual people talked with from 2,955 followers per person engaged, with 66 complex cases or 2.23 CS responses per user. Their average response time for the 1,100 responses posted was 7.4 hours across all channels.
The study found that @FordService replied to 75% of all inbound Tweets to the customer service handle. This was the highest response rate of any brand on the list, and it should also be noted that while 25% of user Tweets don’t get a reply, not all inbound Tweets merit a response. Sometimes, when Ford replies to a legit request and the @user responds “Thanks,” no further reply is necessary. Sometimes users are trolling for attention by badmouthing a big brand, and some are just giving the team a shoutout. @FordService’s response time is lower than the average of all three handles, coming in at under 6.6 hour
Tweet Response Time Distribution
Time to Response
% of Responses
< 30 minutes
Source: SimplyMeasured, March 2013
Over 53% of Tweets are responded to in under 30 minutes, suggesting a full time support staff, manning the account and keeping tabs on inbound Tweets. Less than 8% of Tweets are responded to outside 24 hours, which could be attributed to weekend hours, and is also a big cause of the average response time being 6.6 hours while most Tweets get replies in under 30 minutes.
While @FordService’s response rate dies off significantly on the weekend, so does the demand. On a given weekday, the @FordService staff sends between 80-150 tweets, far outweighing the inbound requests. In the two week period, Ford sent 2,621 tweets, 95 retreats, and had 1,458 mentions.
@FordService’s activity is strategically planned. The brand focuses on peak business hours (between 6am and 12pm,) when the majority of inbound Tweets happen. This allows them to focus on that quick response time when consumers expect it the most.
Though a niche position in the marketing plan, the report suggests the Tweeting has the potential of becoming a quick response problem solver and sales closer.
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