There’s an important shift happening in the word of customer service.  Have you heard about it?

Image by Julian Lim

Image by Julian Lim

Gone are the days when a company could quietly track its response times internally, with customers only being privy to their own experiences of company responsiveness.  First came Yelp and other similar review forums where customers could laud or lambast companies for their response times, but we are now ushering in the next generation of public standards.

As customers increasingly turn to social media to query or review companies, the social media channels are beginning to publicize concrete responsiveness times.  Facebook launched its Response Rate and Response Time badge for company pages almost a year ago.  It privately reveals both figures to page admins until a company has achieved a response times of 15 minutes or less and a response rate of 90% or more over each 7 day period.  Once these benchmarks are met, a page displays a green badge declaring the company “Very responsive to messages”.  Neglecting your Facebook channel will remove the badge, which can be a glaring omission to customers seeking a company that is there for them.

“I had to contact a company on Facebook the other day about a problem I had with one of their products and couldn’t reach them directly.  I took the time to give them all the details I thought they would need along with my contact information.  It has been four days now and I’ve yet to hear from them.  I wish I knew if this was normal for them or if they just don’t keep up with their page.”  –Anne

Taking a cue from Facebook, Twitter has also been quietly rolling out a measure of responsiveness on certain company pages.  Twitter has taken a slightly different approach by posting the hours during which a profile is the most responsive to tweets from its customers.  The feature has not yet been announced as a permanent feature, but may become one in the future.

Companies would be well served to note that these various outside channels are watching how and when we answer our customers and will increasingly display our scores for the world to see as they gather more data on our customer communications.  With more and more companies joining the online marketplace, we can safely assume that customers will put more and more value in these 3rd party metrics that reflect our commitment to providing fast and excellent customer experiences.  Let’s stay ahead of the curve by ensuring that our metrics are something we will be proud to have displayed!