Report: Customer Service Index 2012 reveals which brands are winning and losing in customer service on social media

Research conducted by Brandwatch has revealed insights into consumer interaction with brands on social media.

The Brandwatch Customer Service Index 2012 report, which looks at the results of a survey of 2000 UK consumers, found that customer satisfaction levels online have not improved in the last year, with only three brands ranked positively for their customer service efforts.From a shortlist of 92 brands, the 40 with the most customer service content visibility were scrutinised by Brandwatch for the type of conversation posted by and about their brands in order to unveil the ‘heroes and villains’ of customer service in 2012.

Brands analysed in-depth

Brands were ranked, with the highest score denoting the most successful. A score greater than zero pertains to overall positive customer service conversation posted about the brand, whilst a score below zero indicates an overall negative slant towards the brand.Some of the key findings of the research:
  • Over half (52 per cent) of all content across the brands was negative in tone
  • Retail brands were the best performing when it came to customer service in social media, with John Lewis scoring highest as the most positively addressed brand
  • Despite being the best performer on Twitter, John Lewis fell behind Groupon on Facebook, suggesting brands choose one platform to devote the majority of resources to
As the graph indicates, John Lewis outperformed other brands in the study, with a score of 57 per cent in comparison to Waitrose (also part of the John Lewis Partnership), B&Q (three per cent), and the negatively ranked American Express and Groupon, with scores of -2 per cent and -3 per cent respectively.Whilst retail brands made up the top three in the rankings, on the opposite side of the spectrum, three telecoms companies appeared in the bottom five, with Talk Talk as the most negatively discussed brand in the study.How did John Lewis achieve the top score in this study?
  • Visibility: The brand was the most prolific tweeter, posting more than 1,000 tweets in the four month research period and was also very active on Facebook, with 82 page posts
  • Speed of response: The average response time was three hours and 23 minutes
  • Volume of response: The brand responded to over a third of Facebook user posts
    • Interestingly, despite being the most prolific on Twitter, John Lewis was overtaken by Groupon on Facebook. Groupon was by far the most dedicated brand in terms of Facebook posts, posting more than twice a day and responding to 88 per cent of user posts.What kind of interaction are consumers having with brands?The report categorised the different types of customer service interactions into the following:
      • Direct assistance request
      • Possible assistance request
      • General discontent
      • General praise
      General discontent made up 39 per cent of all customer service posts, explaining the overall negative trend. Once again retail led the way in terms of eliciting general praise from consumers.John Lewis was the only brand discussed positively among the individual sector winners, with telecoms (Motorola), transport (Virgin Atlantic), financial services (American Express), logistics (Royal Mail), technology (Hewlett Packard) and utilities (British Gas) all eliciting an overall negative score.With only three brands in the study attracting positive content from consumers, it is clear that many brands are underperforming when it comes to addressing customer service effectively on social media.For more information, download a free copy of the Brandwatch Customer Service Index.

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