Do social response times impact the customer experience?

By: Lisa Sigler

October 6, 2016

Social Customer Care
Social Engagement
social media

Social media has become a very important part of the way people communicate with brands. In fact, 70% of customer interactions with millennials now occur via social. So, it makes sense to think that social response times have a major impact on the overall customer experience.

We know that people (especially the millennials!) want fast customer service:

  • 26% of millennials say using the phone for customer service is ‘inconvenient.’ (Business2Community)
  • 72% of customers who complain to you through social expect a response within an hour. (eConsultancy)
  • Customers can be more frustrated by the speed at which their claims are handled than the quality of the answer they get.

So, can slow social response times damage the customer experience? Absolutely.

Is that the top thing you should focus on when you are looking at your social strategy? Actually, no.

Before you start worrying about your social response times, you should first make sure that you are covering all of your bases.  As social strategist Jay Baer puts it:

“Speed of response has an impact on overall customer satisfaction… [but] many complaints are NEVER answered. If you want to retain customers with great customer service and customer experience, it’s not just about being fast, it’s about being everywhere.”

Responding to all customers everywhere is more important than doing it quickly on just one or two channels. This is a real problem, and it comes with real consequences.

  • 45% of retailers ignore customer inquiries on Twitter because they don’t have the resources to manage it. This is despite the fact that 88% of retailers have a Twitter presence. (EPTICA)
  • There is a 15% increase in churn rate for existing customers when companies fail to respond to customers via social channels. (Gartner)

Make sure you actively monitor and respond to customers everywhere they reach out to you. Then, you can improve your processes to reduce times. Social response times do impact the customer experience—but in this case, “better late than never” turns out to be true.

Do you want to learn more about how to work with social feedback in your customer experience program? Join us as we welcome customer experience author and Forbes columnist Blake Morgan for our upcoming webinar, Using Social Feedback to Improve the Customer Experience.”


Lisa Sigler is Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Clarabridge. For over 16 years, Lisa has used her writing and editorial skills to bring the value of technology to life. Today, she works to demonstrate Clarabridge’s position as thought leader and trailblazer in the Customer Experience Management market. Lisa holds a B.A. of English from Kent State University. Read more from Lisa on Twitter @siglerLis.