How long is too long before a brand responds to your comment or question via social media?
This is a question I asked this morning on Facebook because I wanted to see what others thought was too long to receive a response via social media from a brand. And then I thought -well it shouldn’t be just as a consumer, but as a business owner and brand manager as well. This post by Jesse Arron was helpful as I was digging for numbers on social media response times to see if I had unrealistic expectations.
I was inspired to write this post thanks to the discussion that happened (and is still going on) and the insight I received. (thanks again everyone!)
In the article: 8 Tips to Improve Customer Service on Social Media Jesse shared this bite of information “With social media, 24 hours is no longer an acceptable response time. Think one to five hours max. In fact, 42% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes, but top companies can take up to 11 hours on average.”
While I may agree with Jesse as a consumer and a brand manager, I don’t neccesarily agree with him as a small business owner. I think 24hrs is an acceptable response time for small brands as well as those small brands that in different time zones than the consumer.
I’ve divided up my thoughts and the feedback based on customer, business owner and brand manager. I hope you share your thoughts in the comments below – as I love to learn what others think regarding this question.
As a customer:
If I post a question or comment to a brand’s page and don’t get a response for hours, days or weeks, all while the brand is still very active online, I interpret that deafening silence as them not seeing my question or comment important enough for a response and I very often take my business elsewhere.
Carla Young of MOMeo Magazine.com shared: “That’s a good question since I’ve noticed that many companies match their social media hours to their customer service hours (9 to 5 or whatever) so questions within that timeframe are addressed relatively quickly, but after-hours questions aren’t answered until the next day. I personally think that’s reasonable since I’m not willing to be on social media 24/7 to respond to questions and comments addressed to me.”
Me: “Curious if you think that social media has changed our (consumers) overall perception of acceptable response time.”
Carla: “I think so. People now expect more and forgive less because they have seen the acceptance of the mob culture that attacks or mocks brands for the slightest mistake. The same cultural driver is making irrational consumers who feel entitled to royal treatment because they have 10,000 followers.”
Staci Jordan Shelton of Infikniti Handmade shared: “I think 24 hours is reasonable for any brand. If they’re actually working and don’t have a dedicated issue. Social Media for me is a last resort. Companies have several quicker options – a lot have chat, etc. Solopreneurs can’t respond immediately, they’re juggling everything. Sometimes, responses take time, and rightfully so.”
Before going off into full blown meltdown mode online because you didn’t get the response you wanted, in the time you deemed acceptable, be sure to take into consideration a few things like what time zone the brand may be in, whether or not it’s a small business, if the Personal Brand Representative broke bad, and whether or not you’re just in a shitty mood.
If you have an emergency that needs addressed immediately and haven’t received an acceptable response via social media within realistic timeframe, consider reaching out via the brand’s website help desk, email or phone.
My Recommended Read
Defying the Internet’s Mob Mentality: Our culture has a tendency to jump on the bandwagon of popular opinion—but at what point does it get out of hand?
As a business owner:
I have so many things that need my attention from the moment that I wake up until my head hits the pillow that often, inevitably, there will be things that I miss. I understand that it’s important that either I make time to personally respond to the comments and questions that fans and followers may have or work with and delegate to a Personal Brand Representative for my company.
Asta Baskauskaite of Baltica shared: “Time zones should be considered. If the company is overseas, then it may be that when the inquiry is sent it is night time. We try to respond as quickly as possible to customer service requests and inquiries.“
Linda Kuzior of Udderly Smooth shared: “I like to think that 24 hours is acceptable. Considering we are a small brand I struggle to see things all over the world and respond or redirect them to a point of contact within their country. But, I expect faster service from a big brand.”
Joe Hackman of Managed Solutions shared: “The sooner the better, speed is an opportunity to shine.”
Renee Dobbs of Magnolia Days shared: “There are many considerations including the size of the brand/company. As a one person brand I can’t be online and respond 24/7. There are times I’m offline to do the work involved and to have a life outside the Internet world. Large brands have so much legal considerations that I can imagine it puts a delay in response too. Honestly, I don’t think any time is too long. The important part is to respond and let the communications flow in a positive manner.”
Mark Schaefer of Schaefer Marketing Solutions shared: “Research shows one hour is the customer expectation and the amount of time decreases as income level increases. In other words, rich people bitch … and they want service NOW!”
If you are a solopreneur make a time commitment to check up on your social media real-estate for at least 10 minutes each day that you are open for business. If you check email and voicemail, you can check social media.
If you own a larger company, encourage your employees to be active online on behalf of the business. Look toward members of your staff/team that have the interest and skills to help you offer better social media customer service.
By investing in your social media education and delegating to those employees who help you build your businesses everyday, you are not only improving your bottom line – you are building a community with the people who care about your continued success.
My Recommended Reads
Something that surprised me from this article was that “…research found that among those respondents who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.”
I loved reading the advice ofon delegation this morning. I think it would be helpful to you if you haven’t read it yet. If you own a growing business you may appreciate hearing why we e s need fewer “yes men” and more folks with moxie on our team.
A few favorite quotes on delegation from the article:
– “In some areas they knew better than I did how to make my vision a reality.”
– “look for people who understand your passion, want to add to your ideas and can envision ways to make improvements. Keep in mind that you do not want yes-men or clones: you want people on board who have strong views on how to scale up the business over the long term, along with the skills and presence of mind to push the company forward in the short term and the ability to manage crucial day-to-day tasks.”
As a brand manager:
If you own a small business then guess what? More than likely you are the brand manager, whether you like it or not. It is so important that you and/or your staff’s Personal Brand Representative (as calls them) take the time to learn how to use the social tools properly and earnestly work to become more proactive in using social media for better customer service.
If you own or are a member of a large organization or company, you probably have or are part of a team of folks that are tasked with representing the brand online.
Regardless of the size of your organization, if you don’t value what social media means to your customers and someone doesn’t quickly respond or efficiently equip your Personal Brand Representatives with the answer to respond on your brands behalf, all while your brand is active online, you could potentially lose a customer.
Think of it this way – If you have a customer CALL in or SHOW UP IN PERSON and ask that very same question that they did online, would you put them on hold or expect them to wait the hours, days, weeks it took for you to answer? Probably not.
When it comes to social media and customer service the two are not mutually exclusive. Typically those in charge of social media understand that time is of the essence when it comes to offering a response and see what a valuable tool it is for improved customer service. But sadly, not all folks understand that social media is more than just a megaphone to push out a message, sale, or event.
To be fair – as a consumer – it’s awkward if your business continues to be active online without addressing the question/comment. . . even if it’s only a “let me look into that for you” response.
Jennifer A. Busfield shared: “We try to respond as quickly as possible, but sometimes, things get in the way and/or action items take time: legal review (in some cases), translation (from our international marketing leaders), supervisor review (based on availability – though we’re getting further away from needing this with a standard-approved response that works for most posts…but leaves little room for real, personal response). Sometimes, we do really, really well. And other times, not so good. It’s a constant challenge.
Tiffany S. Jones shared: “I think it matters what YOUR specific policy is. For us, I reply mostly on MWF on Twitter and Tuesday/Thursday on Facebook. With it just being me to run social media in addition to all my other duties, it’s just not feasible to do in an hour most times. Our audience pretty much knows that when we post, someone is there to offer immediate answers for at least the next two hours or so.”
Create a routine that takes into account your (and personal brand manager’s) other responsibilities as well as establishing realistic expectations within your online community are important to ensure high quality satisfaction from followers/fans.
My reccomeded reads
So how long is too long before a brand responds to your comment or question via social media? Leave a comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts.