Is email really the slowest way to ask for help?

New research conducted by KANA Software and published in the Daily Telegraph shows that most (59%) take at least eight hours to answer a customer service enquiry sent by email. That’s more than one entire working day.

Contrast that to support on Twitter where the average response time is five hours across all brands featured in this survey. Ten per cent of the brands tested responded within an hour on Twitter.

What’s going on here?

There is some confusion in the marketplace because the preferred method of reaching out to a brand remains email. Even this research found that almost half of all customer enquiries arrive by email. It doesn’t make sense for email to be ignored by brands eager to show their social media credentials when email remains the most popular method of communication.

For customers getting used to social media this just reinforces what many are already saying – that calling a brand or sending an email now takes longer than just tweeting them. Of course this cannot be true for all brands, but for it to now be a common opinion shows that some consumers feel that brands are not paying attention to their email and telephone customer service levels.

The new social channels are important to develop. Many customers are now using them and their openness makes it important for brands to respond quickly online, but it is no excuse to allow standards to slip at the regular contact centre. If customers are still using the phone or sending an email they deserve to get great service too.

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Photo by Esparta Palma licensed under Creative Commons

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