US Companies Rank Among Worst Globally in Social Customer Care

Out of 37 countries we track on Twitter, the US ranks 33rd in terms of brand Pages' Question Response Rate.

The other day, I was trying to get in touch with an airline I booked a flight with because I’d misspelled the passenger’s last name on the ticket. My first instinct was to call the airline and explain the issue over the phone to get the name amended. After I waited on hold for 15 minutes, the customer service rep told me that the name couldn’t be fixed – meaning the passenger had no guarantee of being able to board the plane. But this was an expensive ticket — and I wasn’t that excited to tell my boss that I practically flushed a couple thousand dollars down the drain — so I tweeted at the airline. Within an hour, I had a new ticket with the corrected name sitting in my email inbox.

At this point, I’m sure I don’t need to convince you how important customer care is on social media. For consumers, it’s generally a lot more convenient than using the phone. For businesses, it can save time, resources, and keep customers happy. No matter which side you’re on, it’s a fact that people are increasingly using social media for customer support. For this reason, we were really surprised to find that US companies ranked near last globally in responding to customer inquiries on social.

In our Q1 2015 Socially Devoted report, we took a look at countries where we tracked brands that received at least 10,000 questions on each of the two main social networks for customer care: Twitter and Facebook. This left us with 37 countries on Twitter, and 24 countries on Facebook.

On Twitter

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The US ranked 33rd out of the 37 countries, with US brands responding to only 18% of customer questions. Compare this to the average global Question Response Rate (QRR) of 30% (See the full chart at the end of this blog post). Of course, some US brands are providing great customer care on Twitter. A couple of examples are T-Mobile, whose @TMobileHelp handle received nearly 11,000 questions and responded to 75% of them, and Nike’s local branches (@NikeSF, @NikeBoston, @NikeSeattle, etc.), which maintained QRRs anywhere between 76% and 84%. But many major companies, like Domino’s Pizza (@Dominos) and Walmart (@Walmart), had low QRRs on Twitter: only 13%, and 18% respectively.

On Facebook

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The US ranked 23rd out of the 24 countries — beating only India in our rankings. US brands had a response rate of 59%, compared to the average of 74% for all brands globally. US brands on Facebook with poor customer care included Nationwide Insurance, Wendy’s, and Samsung Mobile USA with response rates of 7%, 20%, and 18% respectively. Brands on Facebook with great customer care included many telecom companies — like Sprint with a QRR of 84% , T-Mobile (87%), AT&T (68%), and Verizon Wireless (72%).

While the demand for customer care on social is only growing, it’s important for companies to see this trend as an opportunity — not a burden. KLM, for example, generated €25 million in social media revenue in 2014 as a result of social customer care. When it comes to social customer care today, the true threat comes from ignoring it – which does not go unnoticed on these very public spaces.


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