UK firms are falling very short in the customer service stakes when it comes to answering questions on social media platforms, online and via email.
Figures released by SaaS specialist Eptica were based on the evaluation of 100 UK companies' ability to provide answers to routine questions via the web, as well as their speed and accuracy when responding to email, Twitter and web chat.
The results revealed that of those questions asked, 64 per cent were answered via company websites, 39 per cent via email and 41 per cent via Twitter.
But this means 36 per cent were not getting answered via website queries, a huge 59 per cent of questions were ignored via Twitter and 61 per cent were ignored via email.
However, on a slightly more positive note, the speed of response of answering emails and tweets has improved. In 2014 it took an average of 61 hours and 39 minutes to get an email response – in 2015 it has been halved to 29 hours and 27 minutes.
But several discrepancies were found, with one brand answering an email in nine minutes, and another taking more than 30 days.
Twitter is the fastest channel for customer service, with average response times dropping from eight hours 37 minutes to five hours 27 minutes.
Julian Sammels, UK and Ireland sales director at Eptica, said: “Customers have never been more demanding, and many brands are responding by investing heavily in the customer experience.
“We’ve been researching the state of the UK customer experience annually since 2011, and this year we saw little overall improvement from 2014, with 52 per cent of questions going unanswered [overall] and the performance of many brands worsening either overall or on specific channels. The chasm between the leaders and laggards is growing. This should act as a wake-up call to underperforming brands – they need to improve the customer experience if they want to be successful moving forward.”
According to the report, the web is the best place for customers to find out basic information, with an average of 64 per cent of questions answered online, a marginal improvement of one per cent from 2014.
At the same time a gulf is developing between best and worst – 37 companies scored more than 80 per cent online, yet eight could answer only 30 per cent or fewer questions.
Other key stats from the research:
- Only two companies were able to answer questions on the web, email, Twitter and chat channels – down from three in 2014
- 11 per cent of brands provided a consistent answer across multiple channels such as email, chat and Twitter
- 56 per cent of companies had web self-service systems, up from 53 per cent in 2014
- Six sectors responded slower to email than in 2014, with entertainment retailers taking an additional 10 hours to answer on average in 2015
- 74 per cent of companies had email contact details available, up from 71 per cent in 2014
- According to Forrester, 41 per cent of consumers expect an email response within six hours – a target that just 16 per cent of companies met
- 94 per cent of companies met the targets they gave in terms of email speed of response, though many set themselves extremely generous targets such as up to five days.
Highlander MD Steve Brown tells CRN about the skills he learned on the pitch and brought to the boardroom
Reports suggest Dell is pursuing a straightforward IPO, contradicting existing plans to buy out tracking stock holders
Analysts predict upturn in PC market next year, but 2018 to remain plagued by components shortages
Neil Sawyer claims he has 'never seen so many conversations about a new method of investing in workplace technology'