Tag Archives: customer service

Which Airlines Are Most Responsive On Twitter?

Which airline brands are the most responsive on Twitter? New data from SocialBakers looks at the difference between the amount of answered and unanswered questions – on Twitter only – among major airlines.

American Airlines is well in the lead, with 9,058 questions answered. KLM – known for creativity in social media marketing – came in second, with 6,691. KLM was one of the first to offer 24-hour social media customer service on Twitter and YouTube, and even began displaying customer service response times on the brand’s Twitter account back in November 2013.

Socially Responsive Airline Brands

Virgin America, another risk-taker in social media, is not even present among the top ten; the brand is known for being the first to offer WiFi on all flights, and for launching the first in-flight social network in February 2014.

Comparing the data to 2013, SocialBakers found that the top 10 airlines (listed above) in 2014 are answering more questions than the top ten last year. Does your preferred airline respond quickly on Twitter?

The data comes from early results of SocialBakers’ Socially Devoted initiative for Q1 2014.

KLM Now Displays Social Media Customer Service Response Time

In other realtime airline news, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines today announced that it would begin displaying its social media team’s live response time in the header of its Twitter account and on the customer support page at KLM.com. It will also be visible on KLM’s global Facebook page shortly.

KLM Social Media response time

KLM offers customer service 24/7 in ten languages on Twitter, Facebook and VKontakte. This airline says it will also soon offer customer service on Google+ and Sina Weibo. KLM’s social media team handles about 30,000 messages each week.

In a blog post, the company’s SVP E-Commerce Martijn van der Zee was quoted as saying “we believe in the transparency of social media. Customers want to know what to expect from us. We now offer them real-time insight into our response time.”

The company announced the new policy in a tweet this morning, which has received overwhelmingly positive response.


Do you think more companies should be posting their social media response times?

Social Networking Stats: 30% of Top Brands Invest in Customer Service on Twitter, #RLTM Scoreboard

The #RLTM Scoreboard:  Social Networking Stats for the Week

Facebook: 1 billion active users via Facebook
Twitter: over 500 million users via Twopcharts
Qzone: 599 million monthly active users via TechCrunch
Sina Weibo: over 400 million users via Yahoo
Renren: over 170 million users via iResearch iUser Tracker
VK: over 190 million users via VK
LinkedIn: 200 million active users via LinkedIn
Google Plus: 135 million monthly active users via Google
Tumblr: 97 million blogs via Tumblr
Instagram: 100 million users via Instagram
Tagged: 20 million unique monthly users via Tagged
Foursquare: nearly 30 million users via Adweek
Pinterest: over 25 million users via AdWeek
Reddit: 55 million monthly unique visitors via Reddit

Please email marissa@modernmediapartners.com if you have additional updates, or a social network that you feel should be on the list.

30% of Top Brands Are Investing in Customer Service on Twitter

A new study by Simply Measured finds that 30% of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands are investing in customer service on Twitter. While 99% of these top brands have Twitter accounts, only thirty have dedicated customer service handles to resolve issues as quickly as possible. By directing customer service inquiries to a dedicated Twitter handle (and away from their branding platform), this strategy helps to “protect brand identity.”

Customer Service Response Rates for top brands on Twitter (Simply Measured study)However, the presence of a dedicated account does not assure a response: the average response rate to all customer service mentions was 42%.  The best response rate (out of the 30 brands) was 75%, and there were only 5 brands with response rates higher than 60%.

In short, the study reveals that even out of those brands that do have dedicated Twitter handles for customer service, there’s still a long way to go, both in terms of response rate and response time: the average response time for customer support was 5.1 hours — a long time on Twitter.  Only 10% of the 30 brands achieved an average response time of under one hour – and none of the brands were able to maintain a response time under 30 minutes.

However, brands’ average response time is often bogged down by a few replies (to ‘missed’ inquiries) that happened days after the initial mention.  Overall, 61% of customer service responses were sent within an hour of the initial customer support inquiry – a figure that actually exceeds customer expectations, based on study data.

Here’s a breakdown – by engagement – of the top 10 brands using dedicated customer service handles on Twitter:

Customer Service on Twitter: Top 10 Brands (Simply Measured Study)

The report is Simply Measured’s second quarterly customer service study, and offers comparison to similar data from December 2012.

Social Media Customer Service: Brands Respond More On Twitter

A new report by social customer service software provider Conversocial looks at how social channels are being used to connect with customers, and particularly the rapid growth of customer service on social media.  According to the study, “Consumer demand for social relationships with brands has skyrocketed in 2012.”

Here are some highlights from the study, which analyzed over 770,000 social media interactions (over the last year) directed at leading retailers and service providers using Conversocial:

  • 91% growth in the response rate of leading retailers
  • 297% growth in the number of replies brands sent on Facebook and Twitter
  • 393% growth in the number of replies brands sent on Twitter
  • 53% of Twitter mentions were responded to…compared with just 16% of Facebook comments and posts

While Facebook still dominates in total volume of comments and posts, Twitter has experienced greater growth as a customer service channel.  In Q4 2011, Conversocial brands made nearly exactly the same number of responses on Facebook as on Twitter — now, brands are responding more on Twitter.

A collection of data from NYU (also cited in the study) shows a 459% surge in customer communication on Facebook for America’s biggest retailers, measured over Thanksgiving week in 2011 and 2012.
Facebook Wall Posts Received Thanksgiving Week - NYU Research via Conversocial
Liel Leibovitz, Assistant Professor of Communications at NYU, says “…platforms like Facebook and Twitter are rapidly becoming prominent means of communication between consumers and corporations.”

While Conversocial shows that the number of brand responses via social media is increasing rapidly, a recent study by Simply Measured found that top brands are still responding to only 14% of tweets.  Which means there’s still a long way to go before brands respond as often – and as quickly – as customers expect.

Is your brand using social media for customer service?  What percentage of tweets, comments and posts does your brand respond to?

Customer Service on Twitter: Top Brands Respond To Only 14% Of Tweets

Nearly all (95%) of top brands are active on Twitter, and 23% of top brands have Twitter handles dedicated to customer service, according to a Simply Measured study.  But how effectively are brands responding to the tweeted requests, concerns and complaints of individual consumers?  A new study by CRM analyst Ashley Verrill revealed that many of these tweets go unanswered — over the course of 4 weeks, brands responded to only 14% of the tweets sent.

The “Social Customer Service Race” Study

Brands must use social customer relations management systems to find and prioritize social media comments and help requests in real time. To test brand response rates, prioritization and timing, 14 leading consumer brands in 7 industries were sent customer service tweets from personal Twitter accounts. Each company received 1 tweet per weekday for 4 consecutive weeks; during the first and third weeks, our employee participants used the brand’s Twitter name with an @ symbol, but during the second and fourth weeks of the race, only the brand name was used (with no @ symbol).

The questions or comments used for the study were meant to elicit a response, based on the social media management best practices of several industry experts. The questions fell into 5 categories:

  • Urgent, or I need help right this second.
  • Positive (“thank you!”).
  • Negative.
  • A question from their FAQ page.
  • Technical, or needs more than one interaction to solve.

Brands Fail to Respond

Out of 280 tweets sent over 26 days to 14 big brands, only 40 responses were received – some more than 24 hours after the original tweet. While this is a small-scale study, there’s no doubt that the results are not so impressive.  (This also makes sense given the data from Simply Measured, which found that out of the 23% of top brands that have dedicated customer service handles, only 7% respond to 50+ tweets/day, and just 3% handle 100+ tweets/day.)

Looking at the results reveals some major pointers for social CRM:

Listen for your brand’s name – with or without the @ symbol. The study looked at how long it took each brand to respond and the percent of total tweets that received a reply. One of the main findings was the “overwhelming” failure of brands to respond to tweets that didn’t include the brand’s name with an ‘@’ mention.  Only 3 out of 40 (8%) of the total responses received (throughout the course of the study) happened when a brand’s name was tweeted without the ‘@’ symbol.  The study’s author notes that “most social listening software can be programmed to listen for mentions without the @, with the @, and #brandname” — brands should be actively listening for all three.

Expand your keywords (‘triggers’) to help prioritize responses. Brands also need to chose the proper keywords to prioritize when scanning company mentions in tweets.  While many brands responded to tweets with the words “thank you,” other words (or ‘triggers’) that should have warranted a more immediate response went unanswered, including “buying,” “switching,” “help” and “mad.”

Pay attention to who’s tweeting. Companies also did not seem to have methods for tracking responses to individual tweets (one tweet was replied to twice, with different answers), nor for noting which users tweeted more frequently and/or had more frequent social interactions with the brand.  Those who use Twitter more actively are generally more inclined to share their customer service experiences with their social media audience; brands would do well to use software that examines the Twitter activity of a user, and keeps track of that user’s interaction with the brand.

Both studies indicate that in order to keep up with customer expectations, brands need to expand their focus on social media to include customer service efforts in addition to marketing initiatives.

See the full results in this infographic, breaking down the response time and percentage (per tweet) for each of 14 major brands:

Social CRM infographic via Customer Service Investigator

Lost A Sock? Betabrand Has You Covered With Facebook-Powered Insurance Program

If you buy a pair of socks from Betabrand and then lose one of those socks (within a year), the clothing company will replace the missing sock at no charge – provided you upload a funny photo to the Betabrand site and Facebook.  The campaign – or “sock insurance” as the brand calls it – is a brilliant way to interact with consumers on Facebook, and a great customer service effort.

 Betabrand Sock Insurance Social Media Campaign

In order to be eligibile for sock replacement, consumers must buy a pair of Betabrand insured socks – and have a Facebook account to upload the funny photo of their lonesome sock.  Once a sock is lost, consumers can visit any Betabrand Insured Sock page to submit a claim, “which basically involves you uploading a funny photo and sharing it on Facebook.”  And the brand doesn’t just stop at one – Betabrand will replace up to two single socks per pair!

But without a Facebook account and uploaded photo, your other foot will remain sock-less.  Betabrand says, “To claim your replacement sock, you must upload a photo. We’ll then send you a beautiful new foot covering lickety-split.”

Betabrand Sock Insurance via social mediaOnce a sock is replaced, Betabrand encourages consumers to “share the joy” and upload a photo of “the happy couple.”

It’s a great campaign – Betabrand makes consumers happy by replacing the missing sock, and consumers promote the brand to their social network with a fun, personal photo.

For a fun explanation of the Sock Insurance program (“your feet are in our hands”), watch the Betabrand Sock Insurance video:

40% of UK Consumers Say Social Media Improves Customer Service

Is social media “fundamentally redefining the relationship between consumers and brands?”

UK Customers Prefer Customer Service via Social Media (Echo, Fishburn Hedges study)According to new research by Fishburn Hedges and Echo, eighteen million UK customers are speaking to brands via social networks. The number of people in the UK using social media for customer service has nearly doubled in the last eight months, from 19% to 36%.  Most of them – 65% – feel that social media is a better method of communication than trying to get through to a person at a call center.

Four in 10 respondents said that social media “improves customer service” (whether they use it or not), vs. only 7% who fear that social media could have a detrimental effect on customer service.

Nearly 7 in 10 (68%) of UK consumers who’ve used social media channels to communicate with brands believe that “social media has given them greater customer voice.”

Percent of UK Customers Interacting With Brands via Social Media (Echo, Fishburn Hedges study)The younger generation is most likely to reach out to brands via social media – nearly half have done so – but other age groups also have strong showings.  Over one in 4 respondents ages 55+ have used social media to communicate with brands.

Are UK companies doing enough to be available to consumers on social media, particularly in response to customer service demands? And having a social media presence isn’t enough – they have to be able to respond quickly.  In the US, over half (51%) of Facebook users and over 80% of Twitter users expect to receive a response to their questions within 24 hours or less.

The Fishburn Hedges research combines data from 2,000 UK consumers’ views of social media and brand engagement, in-depth interviews with executives from leading brands, and data from social media monitoring. Download a PDF of the report findings here.

Realtime Customer Service: Facebook, Twitter Users Expect Brand Response Within 24 Hours

Realtime Customer Service: Facebook, Twitter Users Expect Brand Response Within 24 HoursSocial media has become an important tool for customer service.  And when online consumers around the globe reach out to brands on social networks, they expect a rapid response, according to new research from Oracle.

While online users preferred to have several options for accessing customer service support – including social media, calling services, and instant messaging – nearly half (46%) expected companies to be present on Facebook.  A much lower number – just 17% – expected brands to be present on Twitter.

Customers expect quick responses on both social networks: over half (51%) of Facebook users and over 80% of Twitter users expected to receive a response to their question or concern within 24 hours or less. And more than half of Twitter users expect a personal response within just two hours of tweeting their question or complaint.  The report clearly indicates that “consumers anticipate that customer support is listening and participating in social media.”

Online consumers worldwide were also asked what is “most important” when they visit a company’s social media site:

  • 62% of consumers were connecting to brands to find out product news and information
  • 43% were looking for a direct response to their questions
  • 32% were looking for coupons and promotions
  • 31% expected direct access to customer service representatives or product experts

Are brands meeting these consumer expectations? Many don’t. Another study recently showed that 69% of B2B companies have no process for responding to customer feedback via social media, compared to 42% of B2C companies.

eMarketer sums it up well: “The potential return for brands that stay engaged on social networks is significant. Customers who have a great experience on social media can easily become brand advocates, and are already in the right place to spread the word.”

Data was based on a Q4 2011 survey of worldwide online consumers.  Click here to download Oracle’s full report: Consumer Views of Live Help Online 2012: A Global Perspective.

69% of Global B2B Organizations Ignore Customer Feedback On Social Media

Business to business organizations worldwide lag far behind consumer marketers when it comes to monitoring, tracking and engaging with customers on social media platforms, according to new research published by customer experience management company Satmetrix. The research, which is based on 1180 responses from businesses around the globe, shows that 39% of companies have no social media tracking in place at all. But that figure shifts to 51% if you break out B2B companies, compared to 22% of B2C companies.

Most shocking, 69% of B2B companies have no process for responding to customer feedback via social media, compared to 42% of B2C companies.  These numbers would be even worse were it not for North American companies skewing the average: 43%  of North American companies having a response process compared to only about 25% in other regions.

What about tracking and measurement?

  • 67% of companies do not measure or quantify social media – increasing to 75% for B2B companies
  • Of those that do measure social media, 56% just count the comments and followers
  • Only 4% have some form of sentiment analysis

Unfortunately, these findings are in line with the results of a December A.T. Kearney study, which found that the majority of top 50 global brands ignore fan comments on Facebook.

What gives?  Satmetrix quotes Chief Executive Officer Richard Owen as saying that “This is both a huge threat and a massive lost opportunity. Not only are companies running the risk of losing customers by not addressing their issues shared online, but they are also walking past the opportunity to capitalize on positive comments made on the social web.”

There couldn’t be more evidence to show that Owen is correct.  Here are just some of the reports we’ve tracked over the last 2 months:

Your Customers Expect You to Be Active On Social Media

Social Media Works

Hopefully, B2B Magazine is right in saying that social media engagement from b2b companies will continue to grow.  Still: if customers are talking about brands online and relying on social media to help fuel purchase decisions, and if those marketers who are using social media effectively are seeing results, why is it that so many organizations–especially b2b companies–are still not engaging in even the most basic social media activities?

Gatwick Airport: Using Twitter To Create A More Human Experience For Passengers

Gatwick Airport has been using Twitter to keep passengers informed with realtime updates during disruptive weather and flight delays, as well as updates on everyday airport activity.  This week, the airport’s Twitter account, @gatwick_airport, became the first UK airport to be recognized by Twitter as a verified account, receiving, as a spokesperson put it, “Twitter’s ‘blue tick’ of authority.”

Twitter has also included Gatwick in its Enhanced Profile Page roll out – a new profile design which helps brands better convey important messages to followers. Gatwick will be able to use this functionality to highlight key content in times of disruption by promoting a Tweet to the top of the airport’s timeline on the profile page, ensuring latest information and advice is easily accessible. This will enable Gatwick to alert passengers to key Tweet content at all times, such as flight scheduling and breaking travel news.

According to the Airport’s PR agency, Gatwick Airport is not a Twitter advertiser, so it is possible for brands to be awarded profile pages and verified account status without being a Promoted Products customer.

Creating a More Human Experience for Passengers With Social Media

Gatwick Airport’s commitment to engaging customer service on Twitter is part of a broader effort to introduce a more human and personal experience for passengers as they travel through the airport, which was launched after a December 2009 change in ownership in December 2009.  It is the UK’s second-largest airport, serving more than 200 destinations in 90 countries for around 32 million passengers a year.

The airport offers 24/7 Twitter customer service support, which includes the #askgatwick hashtag, and is committed to responding to passengers and addressing issues immediately.

Gatwick was also the first airport to use mobile barcodes as public information points, the first European airport to have an Instagram feed, and has very active profiles on Facebook, Tumblr and Qype, a British user reviews site.  Each channel has a different purpose and execution plan:

  • Twitter:  realtime updates and customer service replies
  • Tumblr:  talk about the latest news in a less formal way than on the Gatwick website
  • Facebook:  share updates and encourage visitors to share their experience, too
  • Qype:  allows passengers to leave and read transparent reviews about the airport and it’s facilities
  • Foursquare: offers for passengers
  • Instagram:  adds a visual edge to Gatwick’s online presence, highlights images by others, too

Spokesperson Zoë Baker emphasized that, “in every sense, Gatwick aims to work with an existing community for each network in a way that suits them and aids the passenger experience before, during and after visit to the airport.”

Realtime Customer Service Leads to More Engagement

On Twitter, some of the largest gains in followers and engagement came during weather-related emergencies and other natural disasters, with the airport updating worried or stuck passengers about conditioins in realtime.   During the severe UK snow in December 2010, Gatwick’s Twitter account fielded 300 passenger queries every hour and gained 15,000 followers.  During the ash cloud event of 2011, some of the Gatwick feed’s messages were retweeted almost 200 times.  The airport also used Twitter to keep passengers informed during a recent strike, with messaging about the event reaching 66,450 people.

But Twitter is not just for emergencies, says Head of Airport Communications Lindsay Baldwin. “We recognize the importance of providing accurate and timely communication–not only during times of disruption but also in responding to broader inquiries or passenger feedback. Twitter provides us with an immediate and effective communications platform to do just this.”

Of course, a social media strategy, on its own, will not turn around a tired brand or make up for a poor customer experience.  Judging by @gatwick_airport’s response in this Twitter exchange, the airport is aware of this–and willing to stand up for the hard work its doing in a very human-sounding voice:

Congratulations on your blue tick, Gatwick Airport.

How are you using social media to make your brand more personable?

And, for those of you who travel, which airport do you wish would provide realtime customer service like Gatwick’s?