Brands are getting better at responding to questions posed to them on Facebook, although they still have room to improve, according to new data from Socialbakers. As the volume of questions posted to Facebook brands grew by 26% between Q2 and Q4 2012, Socialbakers finds that 55% of those questions were answered, a healthy rise from 48% in Q3 and just 30% in Q2. Still, that means that brands are leaving an average of 45% of questions posed on Facebook to them unanswered.
Looking at response rates by industry, Socialbakers notes some significant jumps among the top industries. Airlines, the most “socially devoted” industry, responded to 74.1% of questions in Q4, up from 55% the previous quarter. Finance (72.3% from 46.4%), fashion (56.7% from 24.9%), FMCG (49.4% from 17%), automotive (30% from 5.2%) and alcohol (29.7% from 4.9%) brands also drastically improved their response rates from one quarter to the next.
Brands are not only responding to more questions, they’re also doing so more quickly. The average time taken to respond to a Facebook query fell to 13.7 hours in Q4, down from 19.5 hours in Q3 and 20.9 hours in Q2. Even so, that’s significantly higher than other companies using social customer service have estimated (typically 4 hours or less). Indeed, as results from an IfbyPhone study attest, consumers might want to consider just picking up the phone if they want a quick answer to a question.
While there’s room for improvement, the trends revealed by the Socialbakers data illustrate that brands are beginning to take a more active in interest in their Facebook conversations, something that should only continue to improve as more consumers use social media as a customer service channel.