Commentary

Many Brands Fail To Respond To Consumers On Social Media

While many brands have gone to great lengths to accumulate social media followers, they’re not particularly good at actually talking to them online, with the majority of customer queries on social media going unanswered according to a new survey from Sprout.

The volume of messages sent to brands by consumers via social is growing fast, increasing 21% in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year -- but 88% of these messages were still unanswered after 72 hours, Sprout found, up 2.5% from the previous year.

The figure was even lower for certain industries, with media and entertainment brands for example only responding to 8% of messages from consumers. Sprout also found that average response times crept up 4%.

Sprout also pointed out that brands tend to post far more than respond to queries -- which is bound to irritate consumers who see their queries go unanswered even though someone who works for the brand is obviously online. Thus, media and entertainment brands send 8.5 more posts than replies on average, real estate brands send 11.7 times more posts than replies, and retail brands send twice as many.

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The Sprout findings echo other studies into social media as a customer relationship management tool. Previously, I wrote about the results of an online survey by The Northridge Group, which polled 1,000 respondents and found that 63% said they have had to contact a brand at least twice before getting their complaint addressed.

And 10% said they had to make contact four or more times. Finally 33% said they never got a response to a social media inquiry, period.

Customer expectations are admittedly high, with 17% of the respondents in the Northridge survey expecting a response immediately (i.e., within a few minutes), and 25% expecting a response within one hour.

However, 32% said they had to wait at least a day to get a response, and 30% had to wait a week or more. What’s more, 39% said their issue still hadn’t been resolved after a week.

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