Simply Measured Twitter Customer Service Study - December 2012


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Simply Measured Twitter Customer Service Study - December 2012

  1. 1. How Top Brands Tackle Customer Service on TwitterA Study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on TwitterOver 350 million tweets are posted each day. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, consumers and brandsalike have started to realize the potential impact of 140 characters.For many, Twitter has become the first place to turn with feedback, questions, and complaints for theirfavorite (and least favorite) companies. The world’s top brands have started to realize this, and manyare actively reaching out to Twitter customers with the goal of providing solutions that don’t only helpthe customer, but help protect their brand identity.This study looks at how the Interbrand Top 100 Brands in the world are using Twitter for customerservice, how they’ve interacted with their customers over the last three months, and how it’s impactingtheir brand throughout the network. The data and analysis come from Simply Measured’s industry-leading social media analytics & reporting platform. Simply Measured is a Twitter Certified Product thathelps marketers report on their own customer service and engagement in context with competitors andthrough all their social channels.Adoption: How Brands are Using Twitter for Customer ServiceWhile 95% of the world’s top brands have an active Twitter account, most use the network formarketing purposes, and not all of them use that account to respond to customer service inquiries.Some respond to customer service questions and issues directly from their main brand account, butmore and more – 23% to be exact – are using a dedicated customer service handle to steer that trafficand the negative impact of those issues away from the audience interacting with their brand 1
  2. 2. How Top Brands Tackle Customer Service on TwitterA Study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on TwitterThe added presence of a dedicated customer service handle allows brands the flexibility of respondingto complaints, questions, and issues without compromising their brand voice.The majority of the brands who’ve adopted the customer service handle have used it regularly, but fewhave made it a clear priority and part of their overall customer service strategy. Only 7% of these brandsrespond to 50+ tweets a day, and the top 3% handle 100+ a day.Real-Time Expectations: How Well Do Brands Meet Customers’ Demands?The expectation of a quick response for a customer raising an issue on Twitter is higher than it is onFacebook or even via email to the company’s support address.According to a survey from market research firm The Social Habit, 32% of consumers using social mediafor customer service expect a response within 30 minutes. An additional 10% expect a response withinan hour, and 67% of all users surveyed expect to hear from a brand during the same day.Of the respondents to their survey, 57% expect the same response time, regardless of business hours ortime of day.The brands on the Interbrand list using a dedicated customer service handle are falling short of the moredemanding customer expectations. While 67% of the brands respond on average in under 24 hours, nota single brand has an average response time of less than 30 minutes, and only 9% on average respondwithin the 2
  3. 3. How Top Brands Tackle Customer Service on TwitterA Study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on TwitterDemanding a Response: Which Brands Are Meeting Expectations?Of the top 10 brands by incoming tweets, 90% are responding within 24 hours on average. UPS andAmerican Express top the list for response times, relying to mentions in under two hours.These brands have clear reason to see the value in a customer service handle, as their audience engagesfrequently.Over the last three months, Blackberry has seen over 43,800 incoming mentions. That works out to over470 tweets a day.BlackBerry’s philosophy seems to be taking the conversation off line as quickly as possible. The mobiledevice brand asks inbound support questions to follow the account so they can provide DM help.This strategy has worked well for Blackberry. The @BlackBerryHelp account has over 1 million followers,and the brand leverages this audience by including “How To” content and promotional material on theaccount.Other top-tweeted brands see similar engagement. Nike has seen 24,500 tweets in the same quarter,and American Express has seen 21,400 incoming mentions.Both brands rank among the top responders. Nike can be expected to reach out within an average of 2.8hours and American Express is one of only four brands who averages a response time of under twohours.Hewlett Packard’s @HPSupport account is also in the top half of engagement, but they have one of theworst response time of all 23 accounts, clocking an average response in over 30 3
  4. 4. How Top Brands Tackle Customer Service on TwitterA Study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on TwitterThrough The Cracks: Are Brands Missing Tweets?Some brands struggle to keep up with their traffic. Others, like Blackberry, convert inbound tweets toDirect Message conversations. Some just don’t respond to every tweet. But not Nike. The athleticbehemoth leads the pack, responding to 74% of their incoming tweets. That 74% translates to over24,900 tweets from their customer service handle over three 4
  5. 5. How Top Brands Tackle Customer Service on TwitterA Study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on TwitterBurberry, while lower on demand than some of their competition (the brand saw less than 500 incomingtweets to their customer service handle), has proved to be one of the quickest responders, and withHSBC, is one of only two brands who answered mentions in under an hour.Only two brands – Cisco and Hewlett Packard – don’t average responses within the same day.@HPSupport averages 30 hours, and @Cisco_support averages over 50 hours to respond to mentions.When Are Brands Most Responsive to Your Requests?As we mentioned earlier, consumer expectations can be the same regardless of time of day. Whilementions and responses per hour tend to mirror each other and peak during US business hours, it’sinteresting to note that mention volumes don’t drop off at night. There’s a noticeable lull, but peopleare looking for answers at all times of day.Between the 23 brands studied, an average of over 4,000 inbound tweets come between 12:00 and 1:00AM PST. As a majority of these Twitter accounts are handled stateside, response times can see a seriouslag during night time, and over the weekends, some accounts aren’t responsive at all.The spike at 1:00 PM is due to buzz surrounding an influencer tweet to the @DellCares handle.Dell’s Experience: The Impact of a High Profile Customer Service TweetIn a digital world dominated by public forums, a customer service error can become a PR nightmare in aheartbeat. Having a dedicated customer service handle means being prepared to handle all responses ina timely manner and steer traffic away from the primary brand account. But it may also mean beingprepared to rank those tweets in order to find the most crucial from a brand management 5
  6. 6. How Top Brands Tackle Customer Service on TwitterA Study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on TwitterThis is something Dell had a firsthand brush with in October:While Dell doesn’t rank among the best for response time, averaging 11 hours to respond, theyrecognized the high profile mention from a member of the pop band One Direction. The computerhardware manufacturer responded on average in less than 15 minutes.This quick response left a good impression on the 13,000 fans who for some reason retweeted theservice request, and the 15,000 who inexplicably favorited their favorite singers’ ordering troubles.Another 1,100 retweeted Dell’s generic response.Conclusion: Take Twitter Customer Service as Seriously as Your Customers DoTwitter provides instant gratification for the info-junkie, so it’s only natural that users would expect thesame from their customer service experience. While brands are beginning to adopt the customer servicehandle to foster these relationships, several are still learning the importance of quick responses. A 6
  7. 7. How Top Brands Tackle Customer Service on TwitterA Study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on Twitterreply can mean the difference between a happy return customer and a bitter consumer rapid-firingcomplaints about your brand.Leading by the Numbers: The Total PictureSimply Measured’s Twitter reporting tools help brands gauge their performance, plan cohesivestrategies and present findings in simple, beautiful and meaningful ways. To see how Simply Measuredcan help measure your social media performance, try a free report or apply for a free trial of ouranalytics 7
  8. 8. How Top Brands Tackle Customer Service on TwitterA Study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on TwitterTerms and Definitions:Response Rate: The percentage of inbound tweets and @mentions that a brand or collection of brandsrespond to.Average Response Time: The average time between an inbound tweet and an @reply from thecustomer service handle or collection of handles.Engagement: Conversations or user mentions that are responded to by the brand or collection.Sent Tweets: The outbound communication or messaging by the brand or collection in question.Mentions: The number of times a customer service handle or collection of handles is mentioned in 8