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Study: Retailers get a failing grade with social customer care


SEATTLE — How do industry observers rate retail social customer care? #EpicFail.


The term social customer care refers to the quick and personalized customer service brands are expected to provide through social media once a customer engages with them to resolve an issue. To date, 92.5% of brands are failing to meet customers' social customer care expectations, according to the “Social Customer Care Report,” from Rational Interaction.


Consider Twitter, for example. With 310 million active users and more than 500 million tweets a day, Twitter is an increasingly critical platform that companies must actively monitor and leverage to interact with customers directly. However, of the 67% of Twitter users who have tweeted at a brand seeking customer service, more than half (58%) never received a response, the report said.


"With millions of customers utilizing Twitter to engage with companies, it's crucial for brands to treat the platform as an extension of its customer support," said Selina Petosa, founding principal and chief creative officer at Rational Interaction.


"When executed correctly, social customer care reinforces customer engagement and loyalty,” she said. “However, neglected or poorly managed social platforms can lead to dire consequences for a brand, including irreparable damage to its reputation and the loss of customers."


Retailers clearly have their work cut out for them as only 35% of retail brands provide customer care from a designated support handle, and 60% provide customer care from their single/main brand handle, data revealed.


"Distinct handles enable brands to better track and respond to customer inquiries and isolate negative interactions," said Joseph Debons, principal and executive managing director at Rational Interaction. "Brands using only a main account to field customer service issues represent a missed opportunity to provide rapid personalized responses and alleviate high volume requests."  


Those that adopted a designated customer care handle were able to reverse some of the damage. For example, only 4% of customer inquiries went unanswered, and 62% of brands were more likely to close the loop on conversations — a move that ensures that customers are satisfied and the problem is resolved.


And efforts do not go unnoticed, as 28% of brands were more likely to receive customer kudos once the issue was resolved, the report said.


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