Report: Social Media is the Slowest Way to Resolve Customer Service Issues

Customers see social as a last ditch effort to get urgent issues resolved, but they know it's the least efficient channel.

Social media could be an excellent opportunity for companies to provide customer service. However, many companies fail to provide a positive, or even adequate experience. A whitepaper titled The State of Customer Service 2015 from The Northridge Group, examined current customer attitudes toward online customer service from more than 1,000 respondents.

Customers have high expectations for customer service in all categories, and companies are falling short, especially on social media. 33 percent of survey respondents believe that customer service on social media doesn’t meet expectations, and only 14 percent believe it exceeds expectations. By contrast, 26 percent believe online chat exceeds expectations;  15 percent believe it doesn’t.

Social media presents a fast, highly interactive way to solve a customer service problem, yet 63 percent of customers have to contact a brand at least twice before an inquiry is resolved. Ten percent of respondents said they needed make four or more times before resolution.


Additionally, social media has an issue resolution rate of 13 percent — the lowest of any channel — according to the report. 33 percent of those surveyed said they received no response at all to an inquiry on social, and only nine percent of inquiries received a follow up to their request.

Timing is incredibly important in customer service as it is in real-time marketing, but both fields seem slower to react than customers expect. 17 percent of customers expect a response within minutes, but 32 percent had to wait a day, while 30 percent had to wait a week or longer.

Resolution rates are even worse than response rates. According to the report, 17 percent of customers expect a resolution within minutes, and 25 percent expect one within an hour. Unfortunately, 39 percent of customers still didn’t have their issue resolved for a week or more.

Despite the hype, social media customer service is near the bottom of preferred contact methods among customers. 50 percent prefer to use a phone, 27 percent prefer email, and 14 percent prefer online chat. Only two percent choose social media first. In fact, social media is a last ditch choice when a customer service issue is urgent, but customers don’t believe it’s a fast way to resolve an issue.


For more information on customer attitudes relating to positive and negative feedback, and to find tips for improving the social media customer experience download the whitepaper.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.