eMarketer: Customer Service Tops Social Discussions Across Industries

Vertical-specific topics take a backseat to basic customer care

JANUARY 4, 2012 – Marketers in various industries have different goals for their social media efforts, from direct response to branding to everything in between. And a vertical’s regulatory environment can lead to vastly different approaches and levels of engagement. But on the consumer side, one concern remains paramount: customer service.

Research from text analytics service and customer experience solutions provider Attensity showed that, while social media conversations about banks, airlines and hotels were often topically oriented around something specific to the industry, the most common type of conversation for each industry was about customer service.

For the banking industry, customer service-related messages accounted for 41% of the total studied, followed by discussions of fees and rates, at 31%. Wait times at the bank-perhaps also a customer service issue-made up another 9% of conversation topics.

Among social conversations about airline brands, customer service was overwhelmingly the main topic, at 65%.

For other travel-industry brands, like hotels, social media discussions about customer service were less prominent (30%), but Attensity’s analysis of communications included more categories overall.

Social media marketers from all industries should know that consumer often turn to sites like Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustration-or, more happily, to rave about a good product or service-which means that regardless of overall social media marketing strategy, brands should be prepared to see and direct customer service-oriented discussions to the proper channels. For some, that will mean encouraging a Twitter user to pick up the phone or send an email, while for others, responding to complains and discussions directly on Facebook or other sites will work better.

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