Importance of Response Times

Importance of Response Times - #TwitterSmarter chat with Jen Cole - August 20, 2020

How many times have you logged into Twitter to see people ranting at a specific brand or company? Twitter’s famous for being the go-to place for complaining about bad customer service and demand changes. That’s why it’s so important for a business on Twitter to make sure they respond to customers properly and within an acceptable time. To talk more about response times and understand its value for a brand, we invited social media strategist, Jen Cole.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Jen Cole
Topic: Importance of Response Times
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What does response time mean?

Response time is just that; it’s the time it takes for a brand to reply to questions, issues, and mentions on social media. This also includes direct messages and product/service complaints.

With social media’s fleeting nature, people generally expect you to respond sooner than you would to emails. If you’re selling a product, you’ll know that customers take to Twitter to demand rapid resolutions to their problems.

An interesting way to look at this, is as Rajendra said. You can think of it as a first response, but funnily enough, you might have to think long and hard before you actually send that reply. You don’t want to offend anyone or trigger a negative thread.

Q2: What type of businesses should care about good response times?

Pretty much every business should care about their response times. As our guest mentioned, being prompt shows that you care about your audience. What’s more, it makes a great first impression on people who are not your customers yet. A good response time can help bring these potentials a step closer to buying from you.

After all, as Gary reminded us, social media, and especially Twitter, is a major customer support channel. You don’t want to disappoint your customers.

Q3: Why is it important to respond timely on Twitter?

As you’d probably know, Twitter has become notorious as the ideal platform for unhappy customers. From banks to online retailers, every business strives to respond as soon as possible. It matters because that’s the bar people measure you against on social media. The more interactive and responsive you are, the better.

Janette said it well. She gave a succinct explanation on how you should respond to various people. If it’s a customer, reply as soon as possible. For friends, respond soon. If it’s a troll, don’t respond at all, and if it’s a conversation thread, keep the discussion flowing.

Q4: Should you define a response time in your social media strategy?

It’s helpful to define your response time. Not only for customers, but also for whoever manages your social media handles. That way, they’ll know what your audience expects from them and is used to.

Remember, though, as Masooma pointed out, the most important thing about setting a response time is that it should be realistic and competitive at the same time.

Q5: How often should you monitor your social channels?

This is a tricky question. Ideally, you should have a look at all your social channels at least 2-3 times a day. If you can do more than that, that’s good too. But the main idea is to make sure you respond quickly enough and that you don’t miss any mentions or direct references.

If you’re using only one or two social channels, then you might want to consider Jeremy’s suggestion. Check more frequently for Twitter and Instagram, and the least frequently for LinkedIn. At the same time, remember that you might have to change that based on your industry and the platform your audience mostly frequents.

Q6: What happens when you don’t respond timely to customers?

The consequences vary depending on how big your brand is. You’ll either lose a conversation or miss the chance to support a customer in real time.

What’s more, when you don’t respond to customers as soon as possible, you also risk losing them to competitors who do respond in a timely manner. As Zen mentioned, even if you can’t provide a solution right away, try and respond to communicate that. It’s fine if you need some more time to sort out an issue—just make sure you acknowledge that on time.

Q7: What tools do you use to respond timely on Twitter?

There are heaps of tools that help you manage your social media channels and respond to your community. Jen’s favorite is Agorapulse.

Smita shared a few other tools that most of our community members also agreed on.

Hootsuite, Buffer, Tweetdeck, SproutSocial, CoSchedule, and Crowdfire are all popular tools you can try for managing your social handles. However, the most important of them all is the notification icon on Twitter. Keep an eye on that constantly.

Q8: Name some accounts that have great response times.

Jen shouted out to Southwest Airlines, Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakhouse, and Agorapulse. Interestingly, she also mentioned how all three of them have a great culture amongst their community. That’s important for a brand that wants to be a crowd favorite.

Carlar told us how PNC Bank, AWS, Staples, and Zappos all offer great customer support on Twitter as well.

Special mentions went to SEMRush, ScotRail, Madalyn Sklar, and Social Media Examiner.

Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks a lot for reading, and for more great insights from our chat with Jen, have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. If you’ve got some time to spare on Thursday, join us at 1 pm ET for the next #TwitterSmarter chat.

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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