Social Media Research

42 Percent of Consumers Complaining in Social Media Expect 60 Minute Response Time

Slide1 711x400 42 Percent of Consumers Complaining in Social Media Expect 60 Minute Response Time

badge jay says 42 Percent of Consumers Complaining in Social Media Expect 60 Minute Response TimeIn just a couple of weeks, I’ll be launching (along with Jason Falls, Mark Schaefer, Tom Webster, and our partners at Edison Research) the newest edition of The Social Habit. Landmark, legitimate research into how social media is used, and by whom. I’ve seen the raw data, and it’s a mind-blower. There’s still time to subscribe to this edition (which also gets you exclusive access to our grand unveiling Webinar on October 11), so if you haven’t parted with your dollars yet, please do so. It’ll be worth every penny, and then some. (if you’re not satisfied, I’ll refund you money personally. guaranteed)

We’ll have many more eye-popping findings in The Social Habit research, but today I wanted to tantalize you with some data about customer expectations for social customer service.

Is Social Customer Service the New Telephone, or the Next Email?

The provision of customer service via social media channels has become nearly axiomatic, especially in B2C industries with high volumes of contact. It’s become one of the Big Three customer service channels, joining phone and email to form the triad of support modalities. Certainly, you could use postal mail, fax, or live chat for customer service, but those are just drops in the bucket compared to the Big Three.

Historically, customer expectations for phone support are far different than those for email support. We don’t have data on phone support in this version of The Social Habit, but I think we can stipulate that when you use the phone, you expect a synchronous response – even if hold times can become excruciatingly long when “call volumes are abnormally heavy.” Email is different. You send a support email (or fill out a contact form, which is the same mechanism), and you expect a response in a few hours, or a day or so.

But what about social media? Are our expectations for response more urgent and similar to phone, or less urgent like email? We decided to find out, and our findings paint a difficult and resource-intensive picture for business.

Among respondents to The Social Habit who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 32% expect a response within 30 minutes.

Further, 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. Is your company prepared to handle social media inquiries within the hour? A few are. Most are not, in my experience, which potentially creates a disillusionment gap between customers’ anticipated response time, and your actual ability to provide a response.

Certainly, consumers understand that social media staffing patterns change at night, and on weekends, right? They don’t expect round-the-clock support, do they?

Actually, they do in many cases.

Our research found that among those respondents who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.

Whoa.

And the water gets even hotter. We ran a cross-tab of the data set and discovered that 24% expect a reply within 30 minutes, period.

24% of American Internet Users 12+ Who Have Contacted a Brand in Social Media,Expect a Reply Within 30 Minutes, Regardless of When the Contact Was Made.

Can You Handle the Truth?

When you hear talk about the need to “scale social media” this is one of the reasons why it’s an important conversation. (See and download excellent ebook from Sprinklr on this topic, including some thoughts from me and a bunch of other social media thinkers). Are customer expectations realistic? And can you possibly meet those expectations with a centralized approach to social customer service?

Quick note on methodology: This isn’t some “we asked 42 people” survey. The respondent base – just the people who HAVE reached out to a company for support via social – is 690 persons from a sample of over 3,000 American social media users. Real data = real answers for your business.

small vertical 42 Percent of Consumers Complaining in Social Media Expect 60 Minute Response Time
(what’s this thing? find out more about blogger disclosure with cmp.ly #investor)

  • debng

    I just shared this with my team, Jay. And I challenged the community team to make it our mission to give a response within 60 minutes. It’s not always possible, especially when you have to deal with time zones and waiting on others for answers  – but I think it’s entirely doable.Thanks!

    • ChrisPratt

      debng Great point about waiting on others for answers. Yes…. 30/60 minutes is pretty easy if all the answers are in the head of (or accessible by) the person doing the answering. When you must rely on others, though, it’s now a metric that is out of your control. Frustrating for you and more so for the customer.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      debng As I said above, you don’t have to resolve everything in 60, but at least acknowledge!

  • aashishc

    @kaushikpal good share, purple actually is @maryanntheresa’s fav, I been trained to love it lol

    • kaushikpal

      @aashishc Ha ha, good one. Now I know the secret of your purple shirt :) @maryanntheresa

  • CarChickMWB

    @DCAutoGeek I recently shared another infographic about the rise of social customer service on the @BeekeeperGroup blog. Interesting eh?

    • DCAutoGeek

      @carchickmwb I read it. As for the question: can it apply to “advocacy-based orgs” – Yes, yes & yes. Social media IS the new lobbyist.

      • CarChickMWB

        @DCAutoGeek Thanks for reading it! And I agree that social tools can be very influential in advocacy efforts!

  • BaronVonClutch

    @DCAutoGeek So long as it’s Not United Airlines.

  • MMMotorsports

    @DCAutoGeek Totally. I tweeted a company last night. Still haven’t received an answer and it really chaos my hide.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @MMMotorsports Hopefully, you’ll get an answer. 

  • JavierArronis

    @BuljCo Many thanks for the RT! I really appreciate it.

  • KDHungerford

    That’s interesting! I would love to know if there are figures of WOM and paying forward good service; providing poor or slow service is almost worse than providing none at all – but are there numbers coming out highlighting the pay-off for adequate or great response times? Are the customer who are the most demanding the ones who turn around and rave and share the good experience openly with friends to say thank you?  

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      KDHungerford We don’t have data on that, because “demanding” can’t be reliably gauged, but we have more info coming on this topic overall. 

      • KDHungerford

          JayBaer  Thanks Jay. Indeed *demanding* isn’t very scientific. I’m always on the hunt for metrics and data that support increased investment in customer service – can’t wait to read the report! 

  • RafaelCisneros

    I’d thought they would expect a much quicker response… @cspenn @jaybaer @webby2001

  • CamdenPothole

    @cspenn: The other 58% expect a response & a bag of asphalt. #pothole @flargh @rafaelcisneros @webby2001

  • jeffmc

    @flargh @cspenn Huh, imagine that.

  • IpjRobson

    @JoselinMane isn’t that a crazy stat?

    • JoselinMane

      @IpjRobson Indeed!

  • MarkMasavage

    @Jon_Ferrara that seems like a favorable time. My expectations would be minutes considering monitoring tools and mobility

  • jeffprellwitz

    Great data @jaybaer! We can set expectations like how GetSatisfaction lists their hours gsfnhelp. Or respond with “we’ve received your question and are investigating”.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      jeffprellwitz gsfnhelp Exactly. You don’t always have to resolve in 60, just answer. 

      • http://about.me/caty catykobe

        JayBaer jeffprellwitz  Thanks for the GSFNHelp shout out! Totally agree that most people simply want an acknowledgement that they’ve been heard by the company. And the faster the company can acknowledge then the more likely they are to diffuse a difficult situation. However, if you do respond with a “we’re working on it”-type response, then the key is to make sure you follow up accordingly… ;)Great post, Jay!

  • murmsj

    @mhellstern I believe it!

  • http://www.marketingwise.ca MV06

    Interesting facts considering the fast pace world we live in, and where consumers look for an immediate response most of the time.I agree with debng that is completely doable to respond to a consumer within a 60 min. window.Just think about it, an inquiry is an opportunity and the the longer you take to act on it, the higher the risk of loosing it.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      MV06 It is doable, it’s just that most companies aren’t set up for it, yet. 

  • TheCreech

    @flargh oh you think you’re entitled to tweet whatever u want huh??!!

    #tweet #hashtag #ifureadthispeterimsorry

  • TheeDCelmer

    @VisionSourceLP thank you for the retweet, hope you enjoyed the info, thanks @jaybear

  • TheeDCelmer

    @VisionSourceLP Thanks for the retweet, Found the article very interesting, thanks @jaybaer

  • Raquel_NG

    @epaDesign bueno bueno bueno… Deberían las marcas educar a se consumidores para dar servicio en vez de exigir como hacen muchos?

  • MBegtrup

    @mortensax

    • mortensax

      @MBegtrup Hej :) HVad kan jeg gøre for dig?

      • MBegtrup

        @mortensax – sorry – det begik jeg en begynder fejl…. så … jeg ville ingenting, kom vist bare til at trykke et forkert sted :)

        • mortensax

          @MBegtrup Det går nok :) Sig til hvis du skal have hjælp til at komme i gang. vi hjælper alle sammen gerne

        • MBegtrup

          @mortensax takker :)

  • OliverNeerfeld

    @DanielRJStecher So then we will see who will be the quick one, eating the slow one namely #Lufthansa Systems.

  • AWomansWork

    @swonderlin thanks for the RT. Always enjoy @jaybaer ‘s stuff (except when he’s picking on walruses).

  • MarketingMary

    42% of #Consumers Complaining in #SocialMedia Expect 60 Minute Response Time http://t.co/aZoepdUp via @JayBaer #B2C @jason_springer

  • GRobin

    Wow! RT @warrenwhitlock: 42% of Consumers Complaining in Social Media Expect 60 Minute Response Time http://t.co/zed9yOPa via @jaybaer

  • JPKreiss

    @WarrenWhitlock @jaybaer Not surprising. The web has changed the rules. @dmscott even wrote a book about it.

    • WarrenWhitlock

      @JPKreiss it was a great book

      • JPKreiss

        @WarrenWhitlock Agreed. @dmscott has turned me into an inbound marketing junkie.

  • AndreeaC_T

    @fastake And 56% of those companies ignore consumer complaints. http://t.co/0eMs3SPq

    • FasTake

      Good addition. RT @AndreeaC_T: @fastake And 56% of those companies ignore consumer complaints. http://t.co/73JjR39j

  • brendontre

    @JustinPGH Thanks for the shout out!

  • purchasing_diva

    @boomweb Interesting! Want to meet phone qualified buyers looking for SEO services like yours? Register now on http://t.co/GANpSMo9

  • http://www.sufalamtech.com/ Web Development Company

    With these expectations by consumers, it’s important if you manage a brand or company online, that you can respond to your customer’s in a timely manner.

  • socialguruman

    who performed the study that showed that 42% expect w/in 60 mins or less? Edison or your team?

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

      Edison Research

  • Oli Adams

    Is this US-only? I wonder if it would be the same for the UK.
    Would it be a massive generalisation to say that British people prefer to complain in writing as we’re a bit pathetically polite and don’t like confrontation? I usually back down altogether when the only option is to ‘phone. I think some companies do this deliberately? Twitter is my preferred method now as it’s so public and companies fall over themselves to rectify your problem. The only problem with that is that you’re limited to 140 characters ;-)

  • http://shtlst.co/ Sht Lst

    Do you happen to have any data on the cost of resolving customer service issues via social media vs. resolving them by telephone or email? That would be interesting…

  • Camille

    Has this changed in the past 2 years?

  • http://www.jeromepineau.com/ JeromePineau

    Hi Jay — do you know of any comparable studies covering EMEA?
    Thanks