There is an interesting study on big retailers and their Facebook pages. STELLAService tested how 20 top retailers handle “general service questions.” The results:

“Of the 20 retailers measured, five failed to respond to a question posted on their wall within two days. Meanwhile, seven retailers removed the question from their wall, hiding any record that a consumer had a question.

 

Questions were more likely to be answered when they were posted directly to the retailer’s wall. Just seven of the 20 retailers responded to questions posted in the comments section of a post within two days, while five retailers erased the question from the comments section.”

 

So much for engagement. But are you really surprised?

Facebook is the customer service outpost of last resort.

Companies who talk to customers on Twitter (distinct from being “active” in pushing out information) understand that it can be an effective way to respond to questions and complaints.  On Twitter, it’s you talking, your voice, your words.

On Facebook, on the other hand, you “post” stuff to a wall. While a few companies do a terrific job of interacting on Facebook, most just dump and depart.

Customers with problems just want solutions.

The customers who use Twitter to talk to brands typically reach out there because they know they’ll get a response.

For example, when I needed help recently from a rental car company, I looked to see if the company had a Twitter feed. Then I looked to see if they were actively using it. Then I reached out. (And the problem was resolved quickly.) If Enterprise hadn’t been active on Twitter, I’d have called the corporate office.

I only use Facebook vis-a-vis customer service when I can’t reach a person to talk to online, on the phone, or in person. In other words, when I’m trying to talk to a company that doesn’t talk to its customers.

What’s been your experience with Facebook, brands, and customer service?

Photo by Jeffrey Montes (Flickr).