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What do you do when a customer asks a question via Facebook? According to new research, there’s an even chance that you ignore it.

A benchmark study from internet consultants and technology company Auros found that the UK’s leading retailers are “largely unresponsive” when it comes to engaging on social media.

It studied the top 25 retailers and found that although four in five of them have Twitter accounts and 72% are active on Facebook, 50% of questions asked through Facebook went unanswered, and only 25% of those on Twitter replied to a question directed to them.

After testing the responsiveness levels of each retailer across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and branded blogs, the researchers allocated each a score out of 100. The average score was just 10%. The most responsive companies were Thomas Cook with 32%, Easyjet with 24%, and Debenhams on 22%.

Those that did respond via Twitter and Facebook were relatively timely in their responses, however. On Twitter they took an average of just over an hour and a half, while on Facebook, only an hour. Questions via email were answered in 10 hours.

Dominic Mills, managing director of Auros, said: “It is clear that retailers see the benefit of being active on social networks. But too many are simply ignoring the fact that you have to be social and engage with users on these channels. While brands need to monitor what is being said about them, they need to be confident about responding. Companies that use these social channels to get closer to their customers and prospects will increase brand advocacy and generate more bottom-line revenue.”

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