Less than a quarter of top brands have dedicated customer service Twitter handles

Only 23% of brands had a dedicated customer service Twitter accountTwitter has become the critical tool for brands. According to Simply Measured, “95% of the world’s top brands use Twitter”. Customers know this, and now expect brands to engage with them on the network, not just broadcasting advertising bumph. For some brands, this has meant creating a specialist handle for customer queries.

Simply Measured have conducted some analysis, and say that 23% of top brands now have “dedicated customer service handles”. However, only 15% of brands have dedicated customer service handles tweeting 10 or more times a day, indicating that perhaps people still go to the main corporate account to lodge their complaint. This is a problem for brands, who use dedicated handles so that they can deal with complaints without tarnishing the overall messaging.

The quickfire nature of Twitter means that people expect a response almost instantly. A survey this year by The Social Habit showed that 32% of customers expected a brand to reply within half an hour. The Simply Measured study shows that none replied in that time frame, and only 9% responded within the hour. That said, 91% did reply within 24 hours, which is quite impressive for major brands who are dealing with a huge number of interactions. Simply Measured say:

“Of the top 10  brands by incoming tweets, 90% are responding within 24 hours on average. UPS and American Express top the list for response times, replying [sic] to mentions in under two hours.”

Blackberry received the most customer service mentions, 43,800 in total (over 470 a day). As ever, the stats don’t paint a pretty picture for Blackberry, as that would appear to be a lot of people complaining.  To be fair to the brand though, they have used the account in a positive way, asking people to follow and DM them:

“The @BlackBerryHelp account has over 1 million followers, and the brand leverages this audience by including “How To” content and promotional material on the account.”

The worst brands for response time were HP, which had an average response time of over 30 hours on their customer service handle, and Cisco, which took over two days to reply. Classic clothing brand Burberry and bank HSBC were the best, responding within one hour.

The time a request comes in has a knock on effect of how long it takes a brand to respond. Across the 23 brands studied, they received an average of 4000 mentions between midnight and 1am PST, but responses can rapidly slow down overnight and on weekends. In the 24/7 digital world, brands are going to have to correct this to keep up with customer expectations.

The full study is below: