Last night we released our Twitter Customer Service Performance Report of California Retailers at a private dinner at La Mar restaurant in San Francisco. Similar to our recent Social Customer Service Performance Report of 100 Top Internet Retailers, weanalyzed factors such as time to respond, responsiveness to customers, use of a social media management systems, and whether companies were resolving issues in-channel or redirecting customers to email or phone.
This time around we opted to report exclusively on retailers using Twitter a service medium. We found that only 18% of the 75 retailers were fully resolving customer issues within Twitter. The other 82% respond, but either failed to answer detailed customer queries (instead focusing on simple FAQ questions) or redirected customers to other channels. Needless to say, we were surprised to see that even fewer retailers were fully resolving issues than in our previous report, in which half fully resolved issues within social media.
Countless studies have shown that first contact resolution is one of the most important elements in delivering a good service experience. Many customers turn to social media as a last resort, after they’ve exhausted other channels. Telling a customer tweeting at you to call or email for help instead can create a public backlash from an upset customer and increase customer attrition. Further, sending a customer back to the call center for help increases the cost of resolution by involving additional agent resources. Gartner, the analyst firm, has found that social agents are able to handle 4-8x the number of issues per hour than a phone agent. By having real customer service agents resolving issues directly within social media, you get the benefit of both reducing your costs and delivering a better customer experience.
Overall, scores for the California report were lower as a whole, though not drastically different from the previous report, with retailers receiving an average of 2.05 stars compared to 2.13. No retailers received 5 stars in California, although two companies, Chegg and Naturebox, achieved 4 or more stars. The average response time of 11 hours 10 minutes was sadly similar to that of the previous report (11 hours, 15 minutes) - despite 42% of consumers complaining in social media expect a response within 60 minutes.
The report shows an increasing disparity between the growing number of companies who are delivering a first class customer experience over social media, and the majority who are still treating social service as secondary. Growing customer expectations, coupled with the public nature of social service, mean that this is starting to have a real impact on brand, customer satisfaction, and competitive advantage.