Retailers Largely Ignoring Customers on Facebook
According to research by Conversocial, a company that helps businesses improve interactions with consumers on social media sites, some of the largest retailers in the U.S. are ignoring consumer complaints on Facebook. In fact, during a five-day period in September, nearly two-thirds of consumer issues raised on Facebook went unaddressed.
Costco, Kmart and Kroger failed to respond to a single consumer inquiry on Facebook during the period. Others failed to respond in varying degrees, including: Walmart, which did not respond to 41 percent of inquiries; Macy’s (35 percent); Dillards (25 percent); Bloomingdale’s (20 percent); Nordstrom (20 percent); Sears (11 percent); and Safeway (5 percent).
Even those retailers that responded failed to do so quickly, according to the research. None of the chains had an average response time under an hour. Sears had the highest percentage of responses in under 30 minutes (57 percent), with all others falling somewhere between 40 percent and zero.
In terms of directly dealing with issues, Conversocial gave Safeway the higher marks. According to the company’s blog, the grocer was best "in terms of dealing with the full complaint on the wall. Whilst they still redirect some complaints to a Facebook dedicated email and a Freephone number, a significant number of conversations about customer satisfaction are handled on social media outlets."
Joshua March, chief executive officer of Conversocial, told Reuters, that many companies that have set up Facebook pages see them as "marketing channels" and not "customer service channels."
Walmart spokesperson Sarah Spencer said the company attempts to address as many questions directly on Facebook as possible.
"We answer questions online when we can easily point customers in the right direction," Ms. Spencer told Reuters. "The conversation is taken offline when we need to obtain personal contact information to address a question, concern or idea."
- Who’s Ignoring Their Customers?: A Survey Of The Largest US Retailers and Their Use of Social Media – Conversocial
- U.S. stores let Facebook complaints go unanswered – Reuters
Discussion Questions: Does Facebook represent a bigger opportunity for retailers from a marketing or customer service point-of-view? What is your reaction to the no-to-slow response levels to customer service inquiries documented by Conversocial?