Social has brought us marketers a lot of good: it has greatly increased reach and provided a megaphone where there was only a tin can with a string attached to it--you hoped someone was on the other end. But with social has come challenges, including accommodating the always-on mentality of the digital space.
More than ever before, customers are taking to social to give props, complain, or engage with a brand and its services or products. Social is where they go to speak both with your brand and at your brand, which marketers love, but that means social is also where they expect a response. Unfortunately, according to this Sprout Social infographic, customers are now waiting longer than ever to hear back from brands they engage with online. The centerpiece of this infographic is the stat that 7 in 8 social messages go unanswered by brands in the first 72 hours, which Sprout likens to not answering your phone at your place of business.
Sprout goes on to identify the industries with the worst response rate (utilities, retail, and entertainment) and the quickest (education, strangely), as well as draw some lines between response rate according to region. Interestingly, while the Middle East has a better response rate than Europe, Europe has a quicker response rate.
Is there a sweet spot--either geographically or industry-wise--where brands can respond to the majority of messages that require a response and in a timely manner? This is perhaps the greatest challenge the advent of social has brought marketers, and working with it hasn't been easy. Check out Dan Gingiss and Dan Moriarty's Focus on Customer Service podcast, where they talk to social care experts from all kinds of brands on innovative, authentic, and efficient ways to meet this challenge.
What seems clear is that a platform like Sprout Social (which Social Media Today uses in conjunction with HootSuite) can help brands sift through the noise of social media messages to find the ones that require responses, and that capabilities within the platform make it easier to track response rate. But ultimately, what makes a brand have a great response rate and a good rapport with the customer is having actual humans on the other end, regularly scouring their social space and engaging as one would in a brick and mortar business. The way to a satisfied customer base is, yes, a quick and regular response rate, but there's no faster way to a consumer's heart than an authentic reply. And that's something only a brand who values human-to-human connection can provide.