Photo: iamjohntmeyer via flickr
If you’ve got a gripe with an online retailer, chances are you’d be better off playing phone tag with customer service than trying to tweet your complaint.Just over 40 per cent of customer service Tweets are answered within 24 hours, according to a new study by mystery shopping network STELLAService.
For 45 days, the company pinged 25 of the largest online retailers (Amazon.com, LL Bean, Zappos.com, and Target, to name a few) with more than 1,000 questions via Twitter.
Zappos.com (an Amazon subsidiary) and LL Bean fired off responses to 100 per cent of the questions within 24 hours, followed by Overstock.com and Dell.com (98 per cent of questions) and Best Buy (89 per cent).
But more than a quarter of the companies flat out ignored tweets altogether.
“By failing to take Twitter seriously as a customer service channel, companies may be inadvertently ignoring some of their best customers at their own peril,” said Jordy Leiser, CEO of STELLAService.
It’s no wonder Zappos.com came out on top. The e-tailer enlists a handful employees whose sole responsibility is to field Twitter interactions, according to the report. It was the only company to respond in less than an hour, with second place going to Best Buy, which clocked in at 1:47.
For retailers, the bottom line is that Twitter, while a convenient way to interact with customers in real time, is still a risky channel of communication to encourage. 1-800-Flowers is a prime example, with its Twitter and Facebook pages inundated with customer complaints seemingly after every major holiday. Even so, the company is one of the fastest we’ve seen at fielding complaints and keeps its social media platforms entirely transparent to the public – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Tweet if you like, but chances are you’d be better off using any of these sites instead.
The study included the 25 largest retailers according to the 2011 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide: Amazon.com Inc., Zappos.com Inc. (Amazon subsidiary), Staples Inc., Dell Inc., Office Depot Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Sears Holdings Corp., QVC Inc., Office Max Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., Newegg Inc., Sony Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp., Macy’s Inc., Victoria’s Secret Direct LLC, Hewlett-Packard Co., J.C. Penney Inc., L.L. Bean Inc., Target Corp., Systemax Inc. (TigerDirect.com), Gap Inc., Williams-Sonoma Inc., HSN Inc., Overstock.com and Toys ‘R’ Us Inc.