Companies Must Respond Quickly to Customers on Twitter, Study Confirms

twitter logoLithium Technologies today unveiled research that shows consumers will reward brands that harness Twitter’s power to meet their rising expectations, while punishing those that fail to respond in a timely way.

Customers have high expectations for a quick response: 53 percent who expect a brand to respond to their Tweet demand that response comes in less than an hour, according to the Lithium-commissioned study by Millward Brown Digital. That figure skyrockets to 72 percent when they have complaints.

When companies don’t meet these lofty response expectations, 38 percent feel more negative about the brand and a full 60 percent will take unpleasant actions to express their dissatisfaction.

The implications of failing to respond quickly on Twitter are serious and the majority of users will escalate their negativity — from closing their wallets to publicly shaming the brand on social media. In fact, 74 percent of customers who take to social media to shame brands believe it leads to better service.

What’s more, even consumers who are initially positive can quickly turn negative if brands fail to respond to their Tweets in a timely manner.
Brand must act. More than half of Twitter users actively engage with brands via the social networking platform and nearly half prefer Twitter to other forms of communication when they have questions about a company’s products or services.

However, the good news is that brands that recognize and seize the opportunity to meet consumers’ rising expectations can achieve serious results. The study also revealed that when brands provide customers with timely responses:

  • 34 percent are likely to buy more from that company;
  • 43 percent are likely to encourage friends and family to buy their products;
  • 38 percent are more receptive to their advertisements;
  • 42 percent are willing to praise or recommend the brand through social media.

Lithium Social Web™, part of the award-winning Lithium Social Customer Experience Platform™, enables brands to meet these increasing customer expectations by responding to millions of customer conversations cost effectively and within minutes.

Lithium also today announced that Lithium Social Web has joined the elite Twitter Certified Products Program that identifies the best tools and services to help businesses thrive on the Twitter platform. (See separate release.)

“It’s time for brands to wake up and realize that social response is the new real-time marketing,” Lithium President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Tarkoff said. “Brands must meet their customers in their venue of choice – Twitter – and a slow or silent response simply isn’t an option. With 57 percent of consumers unlikely to spend with you again after a negative experience, those could be the most expensive 140 characters a brand ever ignores.”

Millward Brown Digital Senior Vice President, Media Practice Michael Perlman said: “Twitter has evolved into a preferred method for communicating with brands and has the potential to grow even further. Brands need to be prepared for the rapid shift taking place in consumer expectations regarding social response.”

Survey conducted by Millward Brown Digital. The data is based on a study of more than 500 respondents who have ever re-Tweeted, Tweeted directly to or about a brand/company on Twitter.  (Confidence Interval of +/- 4-5%)