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You probably already know the marketing value of social media. You probably already know certain vanity metrics of social media. You possibly even know the detrimental effects of being bad at social media.

Do you know the value of giving social customer service?

Giving customer service over Twitter and other social channels is not only becoming a necessary part of a brand’s social media presence but also one forced upon it by a consumer base who sees your unsuspecting brand operating in a public space and thinks “now I’ve got you!”

Of course this is only true of the brands that haven’t prepared well enough to deal with customers via social channels. Those that either ignore complaints, questions or even just rudimentary engagement.

There are many brands out there totally nailing social customer service, and there’s a collection of them in how the top brands use Twitter for customer care however if you need extra persuasion that bringing customer service to you social strategy is the right thing to do, here’s a collection of stats and infographics to give you that final push.

From our own Social Media Statistics Compendium…

  • 42% of leading UK companies say that customer service is the most important skill required for real-time social community engagement.

  • Of the 4.8m small businesses in the UK, nearly a quarter (23%) earn over £1,000 per annum through connecting with consumers on social platforms.
  • 49.5% of 18-24 year-olds have dealt with a brand through social media. 27.4% of 55+ age group have also dealt with a brand with social media. 

  • 31% of marketers see increases in customer engagement from the use of social media.

What motivates a Twitter user to follow a company?

  • Almost 10% of all brand mentions by a male follower are a complaint, as are 5% of brand mentions by a female follower.

Download our full social media statistics compendium for much more.

From Lithium Technologies…

  • 53% of customers who ask a brand a question on Twitter expect a response within one hour.
  • However, if a customer makes a complaint to a brand using Twitter, that figure goes up to 72%.

  • If companies don’t respond within the one hour time frame, 38% of people feel more negatively towards the brand, and an impressively galvanised 60% will take action against the brand using social media.
  • 74% of customers believe that if they take to social media to criticise a brand, this leads to better service. 
  • More than half of all Twitter users engage with brands, and that same number prefer Twitter to other traditional methods of communication when they need to contact them.

From Simply Measured… 

  • 30 of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands currently operate a dedicated customer service Twitter feed, a number that has increased from 23 since December 2012.

  • Mentions of dedicated customer service handles have increased by 44% year-over-year.
  • The average response rate to all customer service mentions was 42%, while Ford achieved the best response rate at 75%. Only five of the dedicated support accounts maintained response rates greater than 60%.
  • The top 10 dedicated handles account for a massive 59% of total customer mentions, and demand has actually increased by 20% since December 1. These accounts responded by increasing the number of tweets they sent by 39%.

Each of the top 10 brands by mentions averaged response times less than 24 hours.

From Social Bakers…

Here are 2013’s top 10 global brands with the best customer service on Facebook.

  • Brands improved their response rate by 143% on Facebook over the last year.
  • Here are the best operating industries on Facebook by response rate, from 2012 to 2013.

From Ambassador…

Finally here’s a neat infographic that sums everything up nicely. Especially compelling is the fact that if a follower receives good customer service via social media, they will spend 21% more.

For more insight, find out how these 20 top UK retailers handle social customer service.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 16 June, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

686 more posts from this author

Comments (4)


Matt Lovell, Head of Group Analytics & Digital Insight at Thomas Cook Group AirlinesEnterprise

Interesting article. I think the problem a lot of companies (ourselves included) have with this is getting the investment when we can't clearly say that by investing £x in providing a good standard of Customer Service via social media will deliver either a) Increases in conversion, b) increases in frequency of booking etc.

As such, you find yourselves stuck doing just about enough to get by without actually fully delivering for the customer because when it comes to getting sign off on the budgets required, it's not that easy to get the financial commitment needed...

over 2 years ago


Richard Broadbent

"You probably already know the marketing value of social media." "But only 10% of companies effectively measure their social ROI." Please could you clarify? Thanks.

over 2 years ago


Matt Lovell, Head of Group Analytics & Digital Insight at Thomas Cook Group AirlinesEnterprise

@ Richard

For me this isn't about the potential ROI of social media but the expectation from consumers that they can now use this channel as a means of getting quick resolutions to any problems they may have.

This to me if a far more important part of what Social Media can offer brands but justifying the investment in this area is really difficult when companies are trying to cut costs by encouraging users to self service help sections and find answers as the effect isn't as direct as other investments.

over 2 years ago


Pauline Ashenden

There are some great stats here Christopher – at the risk of overload by adding another, our own Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study found that the UK’s top 100 brands actually responded to customer questions slightly more successfully on email (answering 41% of questions), compared to 39% on Twitter. However, Twitter delivered a much faster response time. There’s more on the comparison in this blog post http://eptica.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/whats-the-state-of-the-uk-customer-experience-8-key-findings/

over 2 years ago

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