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Social media is crucial to customer service, according to study

A report put together by Conversocial has revealed that, in the eyes of consumers, social media is one of the most significant points of contact when it comes to interacting with retailers.

The study – Social Customer Service Performance Report June 2013: Internet Retailer Top 100 – looked at the performance of the top 100 retailers in the U.S., focusing on how they communicate with their customers over sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Most of the big retail names are fully aware of how consumers like to interact with them, with 81% of those questioned saying they now use Twitter to break down the walls between them and the consumer – 80% said they use Facebook. The findings also revealed that more than 50% of firms are dealing with all customer service issues over social networks, without encouraging the use of email or telephone calls.

With Twitter, 51% of the messages received by companies require some form of action via an internal or public response – 62% of these relate to customer service issues. However, on Facebook, the figures are 23% and 49% respectively.

While it seems that brands are reacting well to consumer demand for social media interaction, it seems that response times are still leaving customers disappointed. More than 50% of customers expect a response within two hours but the average brand response time is actually 11 hours. Only 20% of firms regularly lived up to consumer expectation in this regard, while 19% didn’t return an answer at all.

The findings of the report show just how much consumers have come to rely on social media platforms to communicate with the brands from which they buy. It is for this reason that every business, large or small, should be putting the focus on the efficiency of their online activities.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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