December 7th, 2012 by Leonard Klie

Online social media site Twitter generates 350 million posts per day, but many brands are still not “listening,” according to the latest research from Simply Measured, a provider of a social media analytics and reporting platform.

Consumers tweeting at their favorite brands for help this holiday shopping season are likely to not receive a response as fast as they would like. Thirty-two percent of consumers would like a response in a half hour, but no company in the “Study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on Twitter” had response times within that window. Forty-two percent of consumers expect a reply within an hour, and only 9 percent of brands had average response times that meet that mark. Sixty-seven percent of consumers expect to hear from the brand the same day.

Burberry and HSBC responded usually within an hour; UPS, and American Express came in at less than two hours. Nike averages 2.8 hours for a response.

Ninety-one percent of the brands analyzed averaged response times less than 24 hours. HP and Cisco fell below that level, averaging 30 and 50 hours respectively.

During business hours, brands are fast to react, but consumers are tweeting for help at all hours of the day and night(with the most brand-related posts taking place between midnight and 1 a.m. West Coast time) and on weekends. Response times are far worse during off hours like this, causing average response times to dip.

Seven percent of brands respond to more than 50 tweets per day, and the top 3 percent handle more than 100 tweets per day.

Overall, brands are investing in customer service on Twitter, but it’s a second priority for most. While 98 percent of the Interbrand 100 are active on Twitter, only 23 percent have a dedicated customer service account. PR/marketing is still the greatest use for most brands.

So while it would seem that brands are starting to recognize the importance of Twitter and are using it to foster and preserve relationships with customers, many are still not on board. If yours is one of the brands on the fence, climb down and join the game. If you’re nowhere near the ballpark, it’s still not too late to get in the car and come on down, but don’t wait too long because the game’s not going to slow down just for you.

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