A great example of real time response in social media

Please note, this post was written by Catherine Pryce before she left the company.

What is the appropriate response time for a brand to get back to you through a social media channel, such as Twitter or Facebook? What are your expectations as a prospect, an existing customer having a rant or a brand advocate?

On this occasion my focus is on Twitter. Although these questions apply to all social spaces, Twitter, it seems, is the most instant and fast paced platform. It’s also the ideal place for a quick-witted rant if you are unsatisfied with the service received from a company you have engaged with. But how quickly should you expect a response…if you are lucky enough to get one? With more traditional means of communication, expected response times vary; a phone call is pretty instantaneous (if you ignore the time you are on hold!), an email you might expect a response in a day, a letter maybe a week. But all of these channels cost money, time and people power. Not that I am suggesting that monitoring and responding through social media doesn’t. But the speed and immediacy of a tweet, as well as the fact it is in the public domain, offer numerous benefits to forward thinking brands willing to integrate social media tools into their customer service processes.

Absolutely integral to achieving this, is listening to what is being said. Some companies it appears are better at this than others. This post highlights two companies at polar opposites when it comes to responding to their customers through Twitter. Sales Director, Ben and I had a rant about o2 recently on Twitter. The persistent texts about their iTunes Christmas offer were frustrating. The fact that texting ‘STOP’ had no effect (despite this action supposedly putting an end to the barrage) made the whole thing infuriating. But despite a very public rant that brought in comments from other frustrated customers, 02 were completely silent on the issue, despite having a live, and pretty active, Twitter account.

At the other end of the scale was ASOS. The experience with o2 prompted the Social Media and Content team here at Leapfrogg to see if their favourite online clothing store had a better response time. It is well known that ASOS have very open and transparent dialogue with their customers; they are a successful retail brand that has embraced social media brilliantly, both with their Twitter and Facebook channels. But it’s always a test to see how closely brands are listening. It’s all too easy to use social media as a vehicle to push out information and products but fail to listen to what their customers really want, so @copyratty (aka Matt our Digital Content Specialist) and I did a little experiment.

The results

I asked Matt to Tweet using the ASOS review box. While we still don’t know if they are screened, this response popped up within minutes.

And then after Matt responded, back came ASOS with more lighthearted banter:

He has since heard directly from the menswear buyer at ASOS, as well as two other representatives. Now that’s a stellar example of ‘listening’ to your demographic. Oh, and Matt is a big shopper too….

Social media works as a service tool

Since this interaction, Matt has now started to send his ‘look’ to ASOS once a week. Their response has created an advocate in Matt.

“I feel that there are people behind the brand, they are approachable and you can connect with them if you need to,” Matt said.  “With any large brand you want to feel that they are accessible I feel I have built up some good rapport with them over the last week”.

So if you are looking for a fine example of how to interact through social networks, such as Twitter, look no further. And in particular, note the impact it had on a customer; the promise to go back to the site and purchase products that he might otherwise have purchased elsewhere, or not at all…he just had to wait until pay day first!

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