Oracle survey: Social media users have higher expectations for customer service

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. — A "live help" feature, detailed information about products and services, and access to personal account information are the three most important features consumers expect to find at a company's website, according to an annual survey by Oracle.

The report, "Consumer Views of Live Help Online 2012," found that social media users have exceptionally high expectations for online support: More than half of Twitter users worldwide expect a personal response within two hours of tweeting a question or complaint. And 51% of Facebook users expected a same-day response to questions or complaints posted via the social media site.

Oracle surveyed more than 3,000 consumers worldwide regarding their use of customer service channels including call centers, live chat, click-to-call and email.

It also noted that as consumers spend more time online, they rely more on live help: Half of consumers worldwide browse and research products online daily, nearly double the number reporting daily habits in 2009. Consumer use of online customer service also is on the rise, as 50% consumers use live help compared with 37% in 2009.

"Whether the customer visits the company's commerce site or social media page, there must be a clear link to a customer service person that is informed and able to help," Oracle Retail SVP and general manager Mike Webster said. "It is critical that the 'live help' platform provide the representative with immediate information on the full context of the customer’s account and recent queries or transactions with the company."

On the international front, Oracle found that 76% of Chinese consumers are online daily to browse or research products (compared with 49% worldwide) and 60% said they used live help to reach customer service (versus 50% worldwide). In Latin America, consumers were most likely to expect a social media presence: 84%of consumers surveyed in Mexico and Brazil use Facebook and 63% of those using Facebook said they expect companies to have a presence on those platforms.

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