User experience company Webcredible has conducted what it calls a ‘Twindex Review’ into customer satisfaction with brands following the Christmas period.

The company looked at the top ten UK retailers according to traffic statistics from Hitwise, and analysed the last 450 replies to each retailer’s Twitter feed in the seven days after December 25th.

Amazon UK ranked highest, with 79% of tweets containing something positive. Webcredible suggests that Amazon’s ability to ‘tweet purchases’ is a big factor in helping the online retailer to generate brand awareness amongst wider online social circles. 

More specifically when looking at the post-Christmas period, by making it easy for customers to tweet about the products they have bought or reviewed to their own followers, Amazon UK has succeeded at using social media to generate brand awareness, reinforcing its sales and conversion efforts.

Webcredible director Trenton Moss says that the post-Christmas period can be a challenging time for retailers as they are bombarded with inquiries about unwanted gifts, returns procedure and sale prices.

It is essential to have a robust and joined up approach to customer service particularly during this time”

Argos Online also scored well with 59% containing positive mentions, as well as at 54%, eBay UK at 37% and ASOS scoring 46%.  

Though you could argue that these are some of the most prominent of UK retailers, positive results for the latter three alongside Amazon shows a growing importance for customer interaction within social media, particularly in the absence of physical stores. In general, people are more likely to go online to wax lyrical about bad customer service, but for online retailers, there’s really no other way. 

On this point, though negative chatter is not neccessarily an indication of the lack of success of a brand’s social media strategy, it must be used to listen and respond to alleviate the impact of negative comments.

For instance, with only 6% of positive tweets, Webcredible found that UK retailer Tesco suffered the most negative backlash post-Christmas with 66% of tweets showing customer dissatisfaction. The majority of this was related to the brand withdrawing support for Gay Pride, but a failure to respond sooner meant that negative tweets monopolised much of the online conversation within this period.  

Expectations are high and communication now needs to have a more real-time and instant element to it as well a personalised aspect. These social media platforms work well for all brands to find out more about their customers by making interaction personal and relevant as well as widening their reach as customers continue to spread their word to their online communities. Getting this right however, is by making it easy to do so, as Amazon UK has exemplified.”  

Last month Yomego MD Steve Richards explained why ‘social customer service’ will come of age in 2012, and on the same day Sitel research said that more than 15% of 1,000 adults within the UK aged 16-24 prefer to interact with customer service on social media than any other method.

Combine this with the fact that as Generation Y grows up, turning to social will become the norm – and comScore reporting that ‘Millennials’ (those born between 1981 and 2000) now control $170bn in the US alone – it’s time for brands to take note.