How many times have you checked your Facebook page today? Twitter? Or maybe you’re an Instagram person. Social media is a big part of many people’s lives, and it’s also becoming a common way for customers to contact the U.S. Postal Service.
Customers might use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to comment on a particular retail experience, seek information on a product or service, or ask USPS to respond to complaints and questions. Collectively, the Postal Service’s social media accounts received more than 390,000 posts in fiscal year (FY) 2016.
Because of the instant nature of digital communications, users now expect responses to their social media inquiries within one hour, seven days a week, according to research. This presents a challenge for businesses and organizations that lack staff to respond 24/7. Still, it seems organizations are striving toward comprehensive customer service across all channels — voice, email, text, Internet, mobile, and social media — as research suggests this approach is essential to satisfying customers.
Our recent audit report found the Postal Service has not effectively responded to customer inquiries through social media, and its response time – when it does respond – is taking too long. In addition, we found USPS closed about a quarter of its Facebook inquires as “not actionable” when they were, in fact, actionable. It also automatically deleted some Facebook and Twitter posts from its dashboard before a social media agent had reviewed.
While staffing its social media program is a legitimate concern for the Postal Service, we recommended USPS develop an immediate plan to address resources and staffing shortfalls so that all actionable customer inquiries are addressed within a six-hour target. We also encouraged greater coordination between USPS’ Social Media Operations Center and the customer care program, which is a separate organization that handles telephone or website customer inquiries.
Please answer our poll at right, and also let us know your thoughts on these questions:
How do you use social media? To communicate with friends and family or to reach out to organizations and corporate entities with customer inquiries? What do you consider a reasonable timeframe for a response?