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Parature-Social-Use-Customer-Service-Interactions-Aug2014Social media is the preferred customer service channel for just 2% of consumers, far behind other channels such as phone (43%) and email (22%), finds a Parature survey of roughly 1,000 US adults. Even so, respondents aren’t shy about using social to interact with brands: 35% claim to have asked a customer service question on social media, while 35% have complained about a brand and 52% have praised a brand. Among those that got a response, 51% said it gave them a somewhat or much more favorable view of the brand. Though the survey doesn’t detail whether the response was for a question, praise, or complaint, research from Bazaarvoice has shown that brands can benefit from responding to negative reviews. Even so, a recent survey found that 1 in 5 brands rarely if ever respond to complaints on social media.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to see survey respondents more likely to take to social to praise than complain about a brand, as past research has found consumers more likely to share bad than good service experiences. Recent research from NewVoiceMedia, though, suggests that half of US consumers will tell friends and colleagues not to use a business following an inadequate customer service experience – while 7 in 10 will recommend a company following a good experience.

Overall, 59% of the Parature survey respondents who had interacted with a brand on social media (whether by praising it, complaining about it, or asking a question of it) said they received a response from the brand. By comparison, Socialbakers data indicates that US brands responded to just 38% of Facebook users’ wall posts in June, down from February’s high of 59%. Globally, brands answered 67% of users’ wall questions during Q2, a new peak.

However, the average response time for brands was longer than a day, per Socialbakers. How does that measure up to consumer expectations? Of the various options given them, 38% of Parature survey respondents said they expect a response on social media in less than 1 hour. An additional 29% expect a response within 24 hours, with only 8% expecting a response within 48 hours. Of note: roughly one-quarter said they don’t expect a response at all.

Social isn’t the preferred choice for a rapid response, though. Asked which channel they would use if they needed a fast or immediate response, a leading 57% of respondents cited the phone, followed by live chat (24%). Just 1% said they would use social media.

About the Data: Parature’s “2014 State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey” was conducted online using a third-party opt-in survey tool. Approximately 1,000 U.S. consumers were surveyed, equally divided between male and female and ranging in age from 18 – 79. Some 54% of respondents are aged 18-39 and 17% have income of at least $100k.

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