Study Rips Retailers’ Customer Service on Facebook
A new study finds that when it comes to dealing with cranky customers, America’s five most loved and five most hated retailers generally are failing on Facebook.
Software company Conversocial reviewed online responses to consumers’ Facebook complaints during a five-day span in September. Of the retailers studied, Safeway and Sears came out on top, while Costco, Kmart, Kroger and Walmart lagged.
“Although retailers have made some progress in addressing social customer service – good response times from companies like Walmart appear promising – these (social media) channels still aren’t being treated with the same importance of procedure as traditional channels such as email or phone,” the study’s authors wrote.
Failure to respond to Facebook complaints is “a real pitfall” for the 10 retailers in the study, Conversocial said.
According to Conversocial, Walmart missed 41 percent of 362 customer service complaints posted on the retailer’s Facebook page during the September review, while Costco, Kmart and Kroger ignored 100 percent of complaints — at least online, that is. At the other end of the spectrum, Safeway missed just 5 percent of Facebook posts dealing with customer service issues.
Conversocial noted that while Safeway redirected some complaints to a Facebook-dedicated email address and a toll-free phone number, “a significant number of conversations about customer satisfaction” were handled online.
The five most loved U.S. retailers (based on a list developed by Amplicate) that were studied are Costco, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Dillard’s. The five most hated U.S. retailers that were reviewed are Walmart, Kmart, Kroger, Sears and Safeway.
Among other findings of the study are:
• Safeway, Sears and Walmart were the speediest at responding to complaints on Facebook.
• None of the 10 retailers responded to Facebook complaints in less than an hour. “The faster an issue is resolved on the Facebook wall, the fewer customers will see the unresolved problem,” the study’s authors wrote.
The study pointed out that Faceook and Twitter “are continuing to grow at a very fast pace. As more and more consumers turn to these channels to speak with companies, those (retailers) who get it right will have the competitive edge. Brands in control will succeed in delivering the experience their customers expect.”
London-based Conversocial, which is expanding into the U.S. market, provides software that helps companies deal with customer service issues on Facebook and Twitter. Findings of the Conversocial study were unveiled at the Social Media for Customer Service Summit.