76% of the world’s most “socially devoted” brands believe that social customer service is an ROI driver, and 71% believe the customer service they provide via social media is a cost-saver, per results from a Socialbakers survey. It’s not surprising that the brands that are most focused on social care would trumpet its benefits, but the study goes a little further in examining how these brands are managing their social care efforts.
For the vast majority, social care is provided via multiple channels, with just 16% of the “hundreds of brands” surveyed saying they provide social customer service only on Facebook. Similarly, 87% manage their social customer care internally, with few turning to outside help.
When looking at the average number of questions received by select departments, the survey results reveal that there’s an inverse correlation between number of questions received and average question response time. That is, the more questions received, the quicker the response time. For example, the customer care department on average receives more than 3 times as many questions as the digital marketing department (821 vs. 226, though the relative percentages are far more useful than the exact numbers, which presumably show great variation from one company to the next), while taking slightly more than half the time to respond to those questions (413 minutes vs. 769 minutes, with the same caveat). Similarly, the PR & Communications department receives more questions than the Digital Marketing department on average, and has a quicker response turnaround.
While that may seem counterintuitive at first, it does make sense that the departments receiving more questions are more attuned to social care, and therefore more likely to prioritize it. Even so, departments should speed up their average response times: according to recent survey data from Havas Worldwide, 48% of consumers around the world are frustrated by slow social response times.
For Socialbakers, a brand is able to call itself “Socially Devoted” if it responds to at least 65% of questions posed to it. The researchers also look at the number of fans, questions posted on a brand’s page, the response time, and the percentage of user wall posts that are responded to.
The latest quarterly data from Socialbakers, released just before the survey results, suggests that brands are paying more attention to social care. During the second quarter of this year, brands responded to 62% of the questions posed to them on their Facebook walls. While that’s more than double the rate from Q2 2012 (30%), it should be noted that most of the increases occurred in late 2012. This year’s gains have much more incremental – climbing from a 60% response rate in Q1 to 62% this past quarter.
Still, all of the industries tracked have boosted their response rates over the past year, with airlines topping the charts at 79.1% of questions answered, up from 55% in Q2 2012. Close behind in Q2 were finance (77.7%, up from 46.4%) and telecom (75.2%, up from 60.4%) brands, followed by retail (65.5%, up from 43.6%) and fashion (64.9%, from 24.9%). Even the least devoted sectors, alcohol and automotive, have upped their response rates from around 5% in Q2 2012 to roughly 38% this past quarter.
The results indicate that brands are pouring more resources into this area: the year-over-year increase in overall response rate comes amidst an 85% increase in questions asked on brand pages on Facebook.