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Retailers offer best online customer service via Facebook

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 - 09:35 by Graham Miller

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In a study of the way that retailers harness social media and online communications platforms to respond to queries from customers, Facebook was found to be the best place for consumers to get a response from a company.

The Eptica-commissioned report looked at Mark Zuckerberg’s platform along with Twitter and traditional email options as a means of getting in touch with retailers, with analysts finding that on average, firms were responding to 59 per cent of the messages sent to them from customers via Facebook.

This is a higher proportion of responses than the 55 per cent rate seen on email and the 45 per cent via Twitter, which suggests that anyone who has carried out safe shopping online and has an issue with an item or a burning question that they need answering, should turn to Facebook.

Retailers were also ranked based on their area of focus, with sites that primarily sell entertainment items found to be the least likely to respond to an online query from a customer. At the other end of the scale were fashion outlets, which responded to 68 per cent of customer interactions on average.

Interestingly, around 12 per cent of the businesses covered in the report were found to not offer any kind of email response service for people who were not already customers. And yet in spite of Facebook’s reliability in terms of replies, the speediest responses were found to originate from Twitter.

Someone who asks a company a question with a tweet can expect a reply in five hours and 40 minutes, compared with the six hours and 36 minutes that it takes on Facebook.

So while retailers that offer shopping online are getting better at using social media to engage with customers, there is still very much room for improvement.