Social customer care analysis from Social Bakers reveals both a year-over-year increase in the quantity of questions answered on social media and a reduction in average response time for brands.
In the second quarter of 2012, brands monitored by the company only answered 30% of questions posed via social media. A year later, in the second quarter of 2013, brands more than doubled their response rate, to 62%. This is an impressive 143% increase, year-over-year.
This year, the highest performing category was airlines, which answered a vast majority of questions - 79%.
Last year at the same time period, airlines only answered 55% of questions posted to social media channels.
Dutch national airline KLM led the pack as far as response time, answering the most questions on Facebook out of all monitored brands. Not only did they answer nearly every single message on Facebook, the average response time was under an hour, which none of the company's cohorts came near to accomplishing.
Also, it's interesting to note the total number of questions that KLM received on their page - over 4 times the average amount of other airlines, demonstrating just how quickly consumers will migrate to a channel that provides the least friction to addressing their query.
As brands have deployed more resources to social channels, the report notes that customers are expecting faster and more detailed responses.
Many fans do not have the time to wait for answers through standard channels, such as call centers or email, so they expect prompt replies from customer care representatives through social.
In fact, the number of questions asked on brand pages on Facebook has increased by 85% over the last year. Some brands may want to consider implementing a 24/7 customer care team, if necessary, into their social strategy.
Behavior is changing as consumers find more success getting service on social channels, which is actually a net-positive trend for brands.
While they may need to implement 24/7 teams dedicated to social, it's much more efficient and affordable to communicate via this channel. The average agent at a 24/7 call center is just not able to deal with as many customers as can one focusing primarily on social media, and customers overwhelmingly prefer to get help through these channels - a potential reduction in frustration that will provide a halo effect for socially capable brands.
The cost of call centers has also led to the offshoring of these jobs, which often diminishes the perceived quality of interaction by customers. By redeploying resources in the social channel, brands may be able to bring some of these jobs back to the actual countries being served.
The efficiency allows for an increase in wages relative to the cost of off-shored jobs, and could create opportunities to offer customer service channels in multiple languages using staff that live and work in the customer's own country.
The full multi-industry spread follows in this infographic.
Click here for the full size infographic.
NB: Customer service image courtesy Shutterstock.