According to a recent article by Stella Service on Retail Facebook Customer Service, retail companies are still struggling with supporting customers on Facebook. According to their article, “Of the 20 retailers measured, five failed to respond to a question posted on their wall within two days. Meanwhile, seven retailers removed the question from their wall, hiding any record that a consumer had a question.”

The blog cites a Facebook-sponsored Forrester report from late last year that found “76% of marketing professionals surveyed agreed that social media is important for brand building and 72% agreed that it is important for customer loyalty.” Facebook also offers a white paper for best practices titled “Social Business Blueprints.”

Those practices are being ignored, as are the user comments. Of the 20 companies, five failed to reply to a wall post within 48 hours. Thirteen didn’t respond to questions posted in the comments section of their own posts, indicating that nobody is monitoring customer responses in that area as well.
This isn’t any news to me personally, but I am glad Stella Continues to cover this.

Guidelines for Companies

StellaService CEO Jordy Leiser offered PCWorld these guidelines for managing consumer expectations. These are the capabilities Leiser says consumers should look for.

  1. The company should have staff assigned to exclusively respond to questions on social media platforms. Social media should be like the telephone; if the company doesn’t answer the query in two minutes, move on.
  2. If a company uses chat, there should be a response during posted customer service hours. If you get a canned reply that chat isn’t available, the company isn’t committed to customer service.
  3. Look for companies that already have a strong commitment to customer service, like Nordstrom or Williams-Sonoma. “If a company is service-obsessed, they’re going to bring that into their online culture,” Leiser said. “If they think of social media as a second- or third-tier communications channel, they’ll get to it when they have time.”
  4. Look for a company that promotes interaction on its Facebook page. “A lot of big brands use Facebook for one-way messaging, but it’s really two-way social media. The new redesign includes a private message feature that doesn’t clutter the page but lets consumers contact them.”
  5. Look for transparency. If sensitive posts disappear, the company is losing the opportunity to share information with its customers. Leiser cites the example of Crutchfield, the mail order consumer-electronics company. “If someone posts a question, Crutchfield wants everyone else to know they’re working on an issue.”
  6. See whether the company manages expectations. Just as you’re informed on the phone that you can expect to wait a certain amount of time, you should be made aware when to expect a response. “A customer is usually already upset when they start talking to a company, so expectations and reality should be aligned up front.”

Why do you think companies still ignore Facebook Customer Service?