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UK retailers ignoring social media for customer service delivery

Less than half of all organisations in the retail sector are using social media platforms to engage in meaningful, two-way communication with customers and influencers, according to new research.


UK retailers ignoring social media for customer service delivery

The study, carried out by KenCall, found that only 42% of retail companies were using social media to interact with customers, with 7% engaging in one-to-one communication via Facebook, and only 32% using Twitter as a customer service tool.

KenCall reached its conclusions after devising a scoring methodology which allowed it to rank the social media effectiveness of 95 FTSE 500 organisations, from an examination of individual company websites.  Organisations were scored on their effectiveness of use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, company blogs and other bespoke social networks, and then ranked accordingly.  

The results highlight a general lack of enthusiasm for social media across industry as a whole, and although the research found that 57% of all companies researched have a branded Twitter account, only 41% of these are using it to engage on a one-to-one basis with customers.  Meanwhile, a quarter of all companies are using Twitter merely for outbound communication, and choose not to monitor replies.  Surprisingly, just 28% of all organisations had a company blog, with just over half of this number (55%) using their blog as a means of actively engaging with others.

“The research shows that the retail sector has not been embracing social media tools as much as some others in industry,” said Nik Nesbitt, KenCall’s CEO.  “For instance, 91% of organisations in the telecommunications industry were found to be engaging in two-way communications through social media platforms, which means there is certainly room for improvement.  However, retailers are still outperforming the banking sector in this respect, only 4% of all banking organisations are embracing social media tools.  Organisations need to need to understand that by failing to embrace the social media tools their customers and prospects are using, they are missing out on an opportunity to provide better, more fully integrated customer service. By ignoring these channels, they are ignoring their customers and so opening themselves up to reputation damage.”

“I can understand that some organisations see social media as time consuming and unnecessary, but this study illustrates the fact that many organisations are jumping onto the social media bandwagon, without fully understanding the benefits they can achieve by doing it properly.  We believe that social media should be an invaluable customer service tool for businesses all over the world.”
The Retail Bulletin is organising their 2nd Multichannel Summit, to be held in London February 2nd 2011. The event is sponsored by k3 retail and within the programme will look at how retailers can integrate social media into their multichannel strategies. If you would like to attend as either a delegate or Networking Partner, go to

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