UK retailers answer just 33% of Twitter enquiries successfully, study finds

UK retailers are performing poorly on social media for customer service with just 33 percent of queries answered effectively on Twitter, according to a new report.

The Multichannel Customer Experience Study, carried out by software solution company Eptica, analysed responses from 40 leading UK retailers, including ASOS, Currys, iTunes and Waterstones, in four different sectors – entertainment, food and wine, consumer electronics and fashion.

It found that email was the best performing channel for retail service, with 63 per cent of questions answered, ahead of websites, which successfully provided answers to 60 per cent of routine queries.

The study replicated consumer behaviour by measuring them on their ability to provide answers to ten routine questions via the web as well as their speed and accuracy when responding to email, Twitter and web chat.

Eight out of ten retailers in the sample were on Twitter, although only 33 percent responded successfully to tweeted questions. The average Twitter response time was 13 hours 10 minutes, driven up by one retailer which took over 76 hours to answer. Removing this retailer more than halved the average to 6 hours 44 minutes.

Fashion was the best performing sector on the web, answering 79 per cent of questions on average. In contrast entertainment and electronics retailers both only managed 52 per cent.

“The retail sector has been revolutionised by the expansion of digital channels, meaning retailers have to answer more questions, across more channels, than ever before,” said Olivier Njamfa, CEO and co-founder, Eptica.

“However, our study shows that, while some retailers are leading the way, many are failing to deliver fast, accurate responses and consistency across channels.”

Despite the move to multichannel, the study revealed that retailers are failing to deliver choice. Just 73 per cent offered email and Twitter alongside their websites, and 5 per cent provided web chat as well. Consistency was poor, with just 13 per cent of retailers providing similar answers on two channels.

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