The e-commerce software solution specialists Veeqo last week published the results of their social media experiment to investigate which retailers are considered the best in the UK, using slightly unusual criteria. They tested whether the big retailers live up to their reputation in terms of customer service, measured in terms of their response time to customer queries on Twitter
The experiment consisted of 10 UK retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, M&S, John Lewis, Co-op, Argos, B&Q and Homebase, and was carried out by four Veeco team members. The Veeco team asked three questions to each retailer in separate tweets. The following questions were posed: “Do you do free delivery?”, “Do you stock X product in X store?” and “What time are you open until today?”
Based on the average response time, the best customer service was attributed to B&Q, who responded on average in 9 minutes, whilst Sainsbury’s responded in 14 and Morrisons in 20, coming in second and third respectively. Gina Horton, Brandwatch Marketing Executive said: “Having different Twitter accounts makes a brand more human, as the customer knows it is a person on the other end that they are specialists in resolving the problem you are facing.”
Over 1 million people view tweets about customer service every week. 63 percent of brands have multiple accounts, whilst only 2 per cent do not have a Twitter account at all. Customers’ expectations of brands show that 53 percent expect a brand to respond to a question they ask via Twitter within an hour. This goes up to 72 percent if it is a negative remark (for example a complaint), whilst 89 percent of customers claim to be more satisfied when they get answers online.
Velo’s results gave B&Q the “most helpful” award, as they went out of their way to solve the issue and made multiple suggestions. The “most informative” award went to Marks & Spencer for providing links to the appropriate sources of information. Finally, the “Friendliest retailer” award went to Morrisons for always leaving a name and using a lot of smiley faces!
Excellent customer service responses in the experiment from B&Q were highlighted. The question asked was whether a particular type of wallpaper was in stock in a store. B&Q greeted the customer, stated their name, and even asked further questions about the particular wallpaper the customer was interested in.
A few retailers such as Argos, Asda, Co-op and B&Q had multiple accounts, which proved confusing; however, this did not mean there was no response. John Lewis technically failed the experiment due to not responding in the time allocated by Veeco for the experiment, and are still waiting for one of the responses to a tweet at the time of printing.
The research by Velo demonstrates the importance and value of customer service online, as well as the opportunity it presents to businesses to quickly address consumer concerns today.