Study: Most National Brands Falter on Social Media

According to a new study by CX Act, Inc., a customer experience improvement firm, only half of the companies it tested offered email as a customer service channel, with only one in four companies offering a Facebook channel for customer inquiries.

The study, Customer Touchpoint Stress Test, evaluated core customer service channels offered by leading brands, and further assessed how these companies are handling and resolving consumer inquiries and issues in a customer service framework. The study looked at the customer experience across multiple service channels – phone, email, chat, and social media, involving 50 of the world’s most prominent brands in various marketplace categories. These include: airlines, auto manufacturers, financial, consumer electronics, consumer packaged goods, insurance, cable/internet, retailers, and supermarkets – all of which invest heavily in digital marketing.

Social Lens Research conducted the study by recruiting a pool of existing customers to test responsiveness on day-to-day customer experience issues such as billing questions, product issues, and general inquiries. Customers followed a testing script asking them to document their experience in detail.

The key goals of the study were to compare service delivery and customer satisfaction on delivery and response across touchpoints, and to identify opportunities for improvement that would positively impact ROI and the bottom-line.

“Our ‘stress test’ study of brands and the consumers they serve shows in startling terms that most companies are surprisingly inconsistent when it comes to providing comprehensive and quality customer experiences,” said Crystal Collier, CEO, CX Act, in a statement. “Consistency is markedly absent in both variety of offerings and the quality of those channels. It’s also clear that exceptional customer service via phone does not translate to digital channels – such as email, chat, and social networks. With more consumers turning to digital for customer service, especially with young consumers, brands need to take steps now to offer higher quality service via digital.”

Top Touchpoint Study Findings

  • Phone outperformed all channels on issue resolution at 86 percent, yet only 58 percent were very satisfied with service.
  • Customer experiences were inconsistent, and being a top performer on phone service did not translate to high satisfaction scores on chat (40 percent), email (22 percent), or on Facebook (17 percent).
  • Only 20 of 50 brands tested offered chat; even when chat was offered, quality of service was rated low, with one in three testers failing to reach resolution; however, for those who were successful, time to resolution was fastest among all channels at nine  minutes.
  • Only half of the tested companies offered email as a customer service channel, with only one in four companies offering a Facebook channel for customer inquiries
  • Ease of use continues to be a surprising challenge for brands serving customers: only 52 percent said customer care information was easy to find on company websites – and when they did, only one in four (24 percent) found it extremely helpful.
  • Of most concern to brands is the impact of customer engagement on the key ROI metric of “likelihood to buy”: when customers had positive experiences, likelihood to purchase across channels ranged from 88 percent to 100 percent but in negative experiences, likely to purchase plummeted – ranging from 0 percent to 12 percent.

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Posted June 05, 2014