Arise's Learning
Center

Back to Results

03.01.17 | blog
Author: Taylor Jones

Customer Service Frustrations Series: Social Media Response Times

Customer Service Frustrations Series: Social Media Response Times

Our recent phone, email, and live chat hold and response time articles show a clear trend of rising expectation for on-demand customer service, but there are still clear distinctions between them. Customers using phone & live chat have tend to have more urgent issues the majority only willing to hold under 2 minutes, while customers are more willing to wait for a response when contacting customer service by email. What about social media? With the social media’s growth continuing to explode, Arise commissioned a Google Consumer Survey to assess customer expectations for social as a service channel and if customers adopted social media as a customer service channel in step with social media growth.

Methodology

Arise conducted a Google Consumer Survey of over 1,500 U.S. Consumers in January 2017 asking them “When contacting customer service via social media, in what amount of time do you expect a response?”  Respondents could select one of the following intervals:

  • Immediately
  • Within 1 hour
  • Longer than 1 hour, but within 24 hours
  • Longer than 24 hours, but within 48 hours
  • Longer than 48 hours

These time intervals were shown randomly reversing answer order to maintain structure, but reduce bias from respondents clicking on answers in a particularly slot. Respondents could also note that they do not contact customer service via social media or indicate that they did not believe they would get a response back from the company.

Overall Results: What is the Response Time Customers Expect from Companies on Social Media?[i]

Of customers reporting using social media as a service channel:

  • 23.7% want an immediate response
  • 49.8% want a response within 1 hour
  • 79.2% want a response within 1 day
  • 6.9% don’t believe they will receive a response at all

Social Media Response Times - Google Consumer Survey Overall Results

Social Media as A Service Channel

In 2013, J.D. Power’s survey of 23,000 online customers reported that nearly two-thirds of them contacted a brand via social media for customer service. Arise’s study suggests that the rate of online customers contacting organizations’ customer service by social media has plateaued, and in fact, declined slightly with only 63.8% of consumers reporting using social media for customer service. While the rate of using social may have plateaued, the raw numbers of contacts have no doubt grown substantially. Since 2013, the number of social media users in the U.S. with at least one active profile has grown by more than 25% from 62% to 78% per Statista data. So, even though our study suggests a slight decline in the rate at which customers leverage social channels to contact customer service, social has still experienced tremendous growth as a service channel from the sheer volume of increases in total users.

Results By Age Group

As one may expect, there are stark differences in use of social media as a customer service channel by age group, but interestingly, there are also some noticeable differences in response time expectation as well. Younger age groups tended to be more patient in waiting for a response with over one-fifth of the 18-24 crowd reporting being OK with a response after more than a day. This contrasts starkly with the 65+ group where only 3.5% would be happy with a response outside of 24 hours.  

Social Media Use as a Customer Service Channel By Age Group

Social Media Response Time Expectation By Age Group

Age Group

Immediate

Within 1 Hour

Longer than 1 Hour but within 24 hours

Longer than 24 hours but within 48 hours

Longer than 48 hours

I don't believe I'll get a response

Overall

23.7%

26.2%

29.3%

10.3%

3.4%

6.9%

18-24

20.6%

25.7%

23.3%

15.2%

5.8%

9.5%

25-34

22.6%

27.0%

29.8%

11.4%

3.7%

5.6%

35-44

22.4%

22.1%

32.1%

10.8%

5.3%

7.3%

45-54

27.7%

25.6%

31.1%

10.6%

3.1%

2.1%

55-64

25.2%

27.9%

27.5%

9.3%

0.9%

9.3%

65+

23.7%

32.0%

31.0%

2.3%

1.2%

9.8%

Results By Gender

Comparing results by gender for those who use social media as a service channel, men expected a faster response, with nearly 54% of men wanting a response within 1 hour compared to just 46% of women.  Women were also slightly more accepting of responses outside 24 hours with nearly 16% of respondents OK with a response longer than 24 hours compared to just under 12% of men. While only slight differences, male respondents did report they would not receive a response at a slightly higher rate than women and reported not using social media as a customer channel slightly more often than women.

Social Media Response Time Expectations By Gender

Gender

Immediate

Within 1 Hour

Longer than 1 Hour but within 24 hours

Longer than 24 hours but within 48 hours

Longer than 48 hours

I don't believe I'll get a response

Overall

23.7%

26.2%

29.3%

10.3%

3.4%

6.9%

Male

25.4%

28.4%

26.5%

9.4%

2.4%

8.1%

Female

22.0%

24.4%

31.8%

11.3%

4.5%

5.9%

 

Social Media Use as a Customer Service Channel By Gender

Gender

Percentage Who Use Social Media for Customer Service

Overall

63.80%

Male

63.1%

Female

64.40%

 

[i] The Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) Score of this study is 2.3%

contact uscontact us