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Social is the fastest customer contact channel, and letter the slowest, but one in 10 never have a response: study

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Social media is the fastest and most reliable way for customers to get in touch with retailers and brands, though it’s still one that only a small minority use, a new study has found.

For while emails may go unanswered within a 12-hour time frame, questions asked via social media are much more likely to be answered, a study by eDigitalResearch found.

It surveyed 2,000 consumers and found that 80% of those who recently posed a question to a retailer or brand via social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, got a reply, compared to 37% of those who made their enquiry via email.

Social media also met with the fastest response times. The slowest times were reserved for those who wrote to a brand by letter, with 62% waiting for more than 48 hours for a replay. But newer ways of getting in touch with brands also fall short – 7% of those who have used live online chat facilities in the past said they did not hear back from the company.

And overall, one in 10 customers never get feedback from a brand they’ve been in touch with.

Derek Eccleston, commercial director at eDigitalResearch, said: “Whilst there are still a limited number of consumers using social media channels to contact brands (our survey showed that just 2% have recently used their Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts to get in touch with a brand), it is currently the only channel that ensures all consumers receive a response following their contact.”

He added: “If a customer decides they need to contact a company, their experiences should be the same, not matter what channel they use. Obviously there are obstacles (such as the time delay with post) that some channels need to overcome or find a work around for. These results show there are currently major disparities across customer touchpoints – measures should be taken to ensure that departments and teams work together to provide the best contact experience possible. Improving the customer experience should be a business-wide operation.”

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