Social media has forever changed our society and how people do business. A 2013 report by J.D. Power found nearly two-thirds of customers have used a company’s social media site to connect with customer service. New research in the INFORMS journal Information Systems Research finds businesses that use Twitter as a social care channel are seeing a 19% increase in customer satisfaction.
The study, “The Voice of the Customer: Managing Customer Care on Twitter,” looks at data from Twitter service accounts for the four big telecommunications firms in the United States. The two that rise to the top among online customer care are AT&T and Verizon compared to Sprint and T-Mobile.
“It’s clear more customers than ever use social media to seek help from businesses. We strive to determine an optimal strategy to manage digital customer care such as Twitter,” said Vijay Mookerjee of the University of Texas at Dallas.
Mookerjee alongside Reza Mousavi and Monica Johar of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte conducted the study. They found that responding to customer queries on social media has profound impacts on customer sentiment as well as the appearance of service quality.
“The top two firms, AT&T and Verizon, do better in terms of the effectiveness of care support over Sprint and T-Mobile,” continued Mookerjee, a professor of information systems at UT Dallas. “Good digital care consists not merely of responding to tweets, but effort-intensive activity in which customer tweets need to be carefully examined and adequately addressed.”
Customers also expect better quality of care from firms that charge more money for similar cellular plans.
“This type of quality care may require designing some sort of ticket generation system that would detect the tweets that require follow up. Then put in place a good customer service team that would be able to resolve the issues. Simply sending out automated tweets is not sufficient for achieving good quality care,” said Mookerjee.
Meanwhile, an event that is perceived positive by customers would lower their expectations of care quality. But the researchers say an event that is perceived as negative by the customer, such as a price hike, would increase customers’ expectations of care quality. One way around negative events is tailoring response efforts in anticipation of potentially influential events, such as marketing campaigns, a new product release or even a data security breach.