German firms fall short on social media

18 August 2010

HAMBURG: Many German companies are failing to make a favourable impact among consumers on social media services, a new report has revealed.

The Brand Science Institute, the consultancy, surveyed 1,000 people to gain an insight into popular activities and attitudes when it came to engaging with firms on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, 75% of the panel were disappointed by the lack of genuine dialogue between brands and their customers, and 83% said corporations generally used social media channels for marketing purposes.

Elsewhere, 58% of contributors had already utilised these portals to ask questions, submit suggestions or complain directly to manufacturers.

However, 61% of this group did not think the outcome proved satisfactory as the organisation concerned failed to respond, and 47% thought the answer they received was inadequate.

More encouragingly, 26% agreed that their experience was a positive one, and they had been dealt with in a professional manner.

In terms of replying to enquiries, 18% of those polled argued businesses should offer real-time customer care from 7am to 11pm.

A further 44% believed a three hour period was acceptable when reacting to queries, and 13% pegged this figure at five hours or more.

Nils Andres, managing director of the Brand Science Institute, said developing formal guidelines for employees and empowering relevant staff sufficient decision-making authority was essential.

"Companies that practice successful customer management in the real world typically do so on social networks as well," he added.

"Conversely, companies with low customer satisfaction levels tend to confirm their negative image on the social web." 

Data sourced from News Aktuell; additional content by Warc staff