Why Target is a better Facebook friend than McDonalds: The brands that pay attention to your social media rants revealed
18:43 GMT, 5 July 2012
Subway and Target have ranked above their rivals in a new study about how companies uses social media to communicate with consumers.
Social customer service leader Conversocial and New York University scored major firms with school-style grades ranging from A-F following a poll of nearly 600 U.S. consumers.
They found that Target performed better than rivals Walmart and Costco, while Subway beat McDonalds and 7-Eleven.
Inefficient: A new study has found that companies are still struggling to keep up with social media generated customer service requests
In the apparel category, JCPenney came top, with an A-grade; the more upscale Gap only got a B+, and Nordstrom a decidedly average B.
The 38 companies featured in the survey were selected from a list compiled by Stores Magazine, the trade publication of the National Retail Federation.
The research also exposed some new trends in the way customers are using social media.
20.9per cent of respondents said they had used their mobile devices to contact companies via social media while still at a company store.
Department store and dining sectors were found to be the most effective sectors at handling social media, but respondents seemed to dislike banks and telecom companies equally, as satisfaction rates in these two categories were very low.
NYU Assistant Professor of Communications, Liel Leibovitz, explained: 'The research clearly indicates that consumers have grown to expect faster and more attentive customer service via social media.
On top of it: Target came out on top in a list of companies satisfying consumers with their social media- based customer service capabilities
'Consumers are looking for greater transparency and efficiency, and social media channels can certainly provide that.'
Indeed, Conversocial CEO Joshua March believes that companies who ignore the impact of social media could be missing out.
'This research reflects the mixed experiences consumers are having, shining a spotlight on the discrepancies in performance among many companies in the same sector.
'Bottom line, while traditionally consumers are rarely satisfied completely with customer service, fast and efficient social customer service can quickly change the old paradigm and create a viral effect of consumers actually praising rather than vilifying companies,' he explained.
He continued: 'The conversations a company has with its customers via social media truly represent its brand, often at the very dynamic moment when point-of-purchase decisions are being played out.
'The results of the survey reveal that ignoring or delaying a response to complaints and questions have consequences among the buying public.'
The study follows another commissioned by the firm last December, which found that 88per cent of consumers were less likely to buy from companies who ignore complaints in social media.