Facebook is channel of choice for customer interaction

23rd Mar 2016

After companies’ own websites, Facebook is the channel used most effectively by organisations responding to customer queries, according to the 2016 Eptica Retail Multichannel Customer Experience Study. 

The study, in which 40 leading UK retailers were evaluated on their ability to provide answers to questions via digital channels, suggests organisations are better equipped to respond to customers on Facebook than via email or Twitter. 

According to the research, UK retailers could successfully answer 59% of questions asked via Facebook, 55% on email and 45% on Twitter – despite the fact that 95% of retailers now have a Twitter account. Email use has fallen in the past year, and it still takes an average of 32 hours and 53 minutes for a customer to receive an answer to their query via email. 

In comparison, a similar survey of US retailers found that 73% were able to answer an emailed question, responding in an average of just 7 hours 51 minutes – nearly four times faster.

Just 10% of UK organisations responded on all three platforms.

“Retailers on both sides of the Atlantic seem to be adopting fundamentally different strategies when it comes to customer service,” says Olivier Njamfa, chief executive and co-founder of Eptica. 

“What the Eptica research demonstrates is that retailers in the UK and US are focusing on specific channels, rather than adopting a truly multichannel approach that delivers high levels of service, whatever the customer’s channel of choice. Companies need to learn from each other and deliver a consistent experience if they are to thrive in increasingly global markets.”

The need for a seamless, personalised customer experience across multiple channels is something the Institute of Customer Service highlights in its Service goes social report. 

Though the Institute’s latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index shows customer satisfaction in the retail sector has improved in the last year, like Eptica, it suggests the sector’s multichannel service offering could develop further. Currently, just 1.5% of retailers use more than three channels to interact with customers – the lowest proportion of any sector.

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