Online retail rating service StellaService examined the Facebook practices of 20 top retail brands and, for the most part, found their customer service to be lacking.
StellaService posted customer-service questions and comments on the Facebook walls of the 20 retailers, and found that:
- B&H Photo was the fastest to respond, doing so within two minutes.
- Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, and Foot Locker all responded within 30 minutes.
- B&H, Gap, Bed Bath & Beyond, JackThreads, and Williams-Sonoma were the only five retailers to earn high marks in all of StellaService’s key metrics, responding to questions in wall posts and comments within 48 hours and not deleting any customer questions before 48 hours.
- Eight companies deleted questions posted on their walls, regardless of whether they were answered: Best Buy, Crate and Barrel, Fab.com, Gilt.com, J. Crew, Radio Shack, Rue La La, and Victoria’s Secret.
- 13 companies failed to answer questions posted in the comments section: Best Buy, Bose, Brooks Brothers, Cooking.com, Fab.com, Foot Locker, Gap, Gilt.com, J. Crew, One Kings Lane, Radio Shack, Sur La Table, and Victoria’s Secret.
StellaService also shared the following tips for customers who wish to contact retailers via Facebook:
- Questions are more likely to be answered when posted to walls than when included in comments.
- Check to see if your questions are deleted.
- Avoid offensive language and keep posts precise, but don’t forget to include vital information, such as product numbers and order dates.
- Look for service widgets on the Facebook page.
- Allow 24 hours before moving to plan B, whatever that may be for you.
StellaService Chief Executive Officer Jordy Leiser said:
While retailers have enthusiastically embraced Facebook as a way to engage with consumers, many have yet to fully appreciate social media’s two-way nature when it comes to providing customer service. Retailers need to realize that two days in Facebook time is like two years in real-time. Consumers are used to real-time engagement with friends on Facebook, so it’s unnatural to spend days waiting for any kind of response.
Readers: Have your customer-service experiences with retailers or customers on Facebook mirrored the findings by StellaService?
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Short post. Big point. Why have some social media stores of big retail brands failed?
Simple. They had no compelling value proposition – there was no compelling reason to choose to buy from them – mostly because they were simply clones of existing e-commerce sites – selling the same products for the same prices with the same promotions and in the same place (online and one click away from the social media news feed).
If you want to sell successfully in social media, you’ll need one of these 4 key value propositions:
- Something First – Give social media followers access to new products first (Burberry)
- Something Unique – Give social media followers something different, only available to them (Oscar de la Renta)
- Something More – Give social media followers a bonus when they buy (EA)
- Something For Less – Give social media followers a discount when they buy (Zynga)
What’s your social commerce value proposition – the true, unique and compelling reason to buy from your social media store?
Sales via social commerce are expected to reach the $30bn mark within five years says a Booz&Co report. However, in order for that to happen four things are going to have to change.
- Address Security Concerns
- Engage via Mobile Devices
- Encourage Open Recommendation
- Invest in Social Media
According to a Harris Interactive survey conducted on behalf of Digitas last month (as reported by AllFacebook.com), the chief concern for consumers is over privacy and security, which social media users feel have to be addressed before they feel comfortable sharing their credit card information. The survey revealed that a full 55 percent of users feel apprehensive about giving out such sensitive data via social channels.
But all is not lost. The survey also surfaced that 45 percent of social media users are at least “somewhat comfortable” with making a purchase via social media, especially men between the ages of 18 and 54 who earn $35,000 or more.
Mobile commerce plays a role too. The survey showed that people are spending as much time accessing social networks via their mobile devices as they do via their PCs.
Lastly, the friend-to-friend connection factored heavily:
- 34 percent of social media users agree that they’d be more likely to share info about a purchase they made on a social media site with friends than one made on a traditional e-commerce site;
- 75 percent of social media users indicate that they agree that they would be more likely to purchase a product or service that a friend openly endorses via social media.
Apart from privacy issues, we believe that social commerce will reach its heyday once two trends develop:
- Brands learn to get out of the way and create strategies and supporting technologies that facilitate friends sharing with friends. That day is fast approaching thanks, in part, to the frictionless commerce made available through Facebook’s Open Graph.
- Social commerce extends beyond social networks – helping consumers buy where they connect – and into online retail – helping consumers connect where they buy. It comes down to a matter of intent; shopping first, social second.
None of this should come as any surprise to e-commerce veterans. The trepidation currently being felt by social media users mirrors that which occurred in the early days of online retail. It took 10 years for e-commerce to reach its apex. Whilst I think the cycle will be shorter in this case, it won’t happen overnight.
My Parallels Summit 2012 Keynote should give you some quick actionable strategies for improving your marketing, online customer service (connection and engagement) so you can better connect with your SMB customers to sell more.