Twitter study says that responding to tweets pays off for businesses

It’s a classic Twitter conversation: Someone complains about a bad experience with a company, then the business responds, promising to make things better. But is that actually an effective use of the company’s time?

It is, according to a new study conducted by Twitter in collaboration with Applied Marketing Science. Specifically, Twitter says that when a customer tweets at a business and receives a response, they are, on average, willing to spend 3 to 20 percent more on a product from that company. Those customers are also 44 percent more likely to share their experience and 30 percent more likely to recommend the brand.

Twitter says that brands see the best results when they respond more quickly, and that businesses shouldn’t be scared off by negative tweets — 69 percent of people who tweeted negatively said they felt more positive after the business responded.

In a company blog post, Twitter’s Wayne Huang writes:

Businesses have known for years that great customer service engenders brand loyalty; this research shows a wide range of additional benefits to businesses. And these benefits come at a lower cost compared to other channels: according to McKinsey & Company, support interactions on social cost 1/6th of those in a call center. Combined with the revenue potential, favorability, satisfaction, and recommendation impact of these interactions, businesses can benefit significantly from investing in helping their customers on Twitter.

This study, which was conducted across industries, echoes the results of an airline-focused study that Twitter released last year. In this case, Twitter says the study involved 3,139 people, some who tweeted at big brands, others who used traditional customer service and still others who had no customer service interactions at all.