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LithiumMillwardBrown-Consumer-Expectations-Brands-Twitter-Responses-Oct2013Consumers who expect brands to respond to their tweets expect those responses to come quickly, and they’ll punish brands who don’t meet their expectations, according to a study by Millward Brown Digital commissioned by Lithium Technologies. A slight majority of Twitter users who expect brands to respond to their tweets feel that those responses should come in less than an hour. When there’s a complaint involved, 72% demand a quick response. Brands be warned: these consumers appear to have a limited amount of patience.

Recent research has suggested that consumers expect quicker responses on social media than via email, but these consumers might be frustrated by actual results: Socialbakers data suggests that during the first quarter of this year, brands responded to only 38% of questions posed of them on Twitter, taking an average of 6-and-a-half hours to do so.

According to the Lithium study, when brands fail to meet expectations regarding response times, 38% of respondents will feel more negative about the brand and 60% will “take unpleasant actions to express their dissatisfaction,” with those actions including shaming the brand on social media. Interestingly, about three-quarters of respondents who say they take to social media to shame brands believe that this leads to better service. That brings to mind earlier survey results from Havas Worldwide, in which 53% of respondents globally said they believe that companies are more responsive to customers when they complain via social media, a figure that rises to 57% among Millennials (aged 18-34).

On the other side of the equation, of course, there are benefits to brands providing timely responses to their customers:

  • One-third report being likely to buy more from the company;
  • 43% are likely to encourage friends and family to buy the company’s products;
  • 4 in 10 are more receptive to the brands’ ads; and
  • 4 in 10 are willing to praise or recommend the brand through social media.

About the Data: The data is based on a study of more than 500 respondents who have ever re-tweeted, tweeted directly to or about a brand/company on Twitter. (Confidence Interval of +/- 4-5%)

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