The impact of not responding quickly to customer inquiries on social media

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May 15, 2016 by Paul Dughi

A woman expresses fury whilst looking at her laptop.

Average response time for businesses?  10 hours.  Expectation by customers?  4.

If somebody called your business to ask a question about a product, would you put them on hold for 5 minutes?  An hour?  Ten hours?  That’s what happening when people send you a message via social media, and they’re not happy when they’re ignored.  A study by Sprout Social, tracking 247,000 social profiles and 2.9 billion messages show some disturbing trends for businesses.

It’s becoming a bigger issue. The research shows that more than 34% of potential customers turn first to social media when there’s an issue (compared to 16% that call and 5% that go in person).  So ignore them at your own peril.

Sprout-Index-Charts-Q2-2016-01How bad is it?  The study’s authors said businesses in the 1Q of 2016 in their study received an average of 957 messages that should prompt a response.

Nearly 90% of the messages were ignored.  Those that did get a response saw an average of 10 hours before responding.  Customers expected a response within four hours.

Sprout-Index-Charts-Q2-2016-05-1

“People aren’t asking for the world, They would simply like to hear back when they reach out to your brand.”

 

“People are clamoring for greater social engagement — with both their mouths and pocketbooks open — but brands are not moving fast enough” – Sprout Social

Failing to fix this issue could have big consequences.  People that don’t get a response often get vocal about it and can have a significant impact online, especially if one of those unanswered complaints happens to go viral.  Not only that, but you’re running the risk of your customers – who came to you first – going somewhere else.  In the study, roughly 30% of customers said they go to a competitor if they don’t hear from you.

Sprout-Index-Charts-Q2-2016-06-1

If that doesn’t give you enough of a reason to handle social media inquires better, think about this.

“75 percent of people say they are more likely to post something positive about a brand that makes a meaningful connection with them on social, while 43 percent say they’re more likely to actually make a purchase.” Sprout Social

Read the full study here.

 

 

 

 

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