Companies fail to respond on Google+

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Research of UK telecommunications, banks, and airlines shows that the vast majority of these companies fail to provide customer service on the world’s second largest social network.

This is a re-print of a story published on http://www.brandembassy.com/resources/companies-fail-to-respond-on-google-plus.html

Over 540 million Google+ users are posting photos and updating their status every month, claims SiteProNews after chewing through Google data, giving Google+ the second largest user base of any social network after Facebook. Then add in the connection to the overall Google ecosystem of search, mapping, and other products — Google+ is clearly not a simple social media channel.  With this large of a user base, many companies claim they use their Google+ presence to keep their finger on the pulse of customers’ preferences and respond to their inquiries. But the reality is completely different.

 

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Most Telco, Banks and Airlines fail to respond

If Google+ is so critical to companies’ social strategy, why not test the actual strength of this connection? On Monday, March 10th, I contacted 29 large UK companies (See list attached – PDF 1.1Mb) with the simple question of whether or not they respond to customer queries on Google+. After 48 hours, only two companies had responded, with the remaining 27 seemingly ignoring the question. Some of these non-responsive companies have a huge community of Google+ followers – British Airways has over 2.2 million followers in its circles while others are disproportionately low such as Barclays (995 followers) or T-Mobile UK (2,188 followers).

Is Google+ worth paying attention to?

With a company response rate of just 7% to my Google+ queries, it seems that companies have simply decided that the social network is just not worth paying attention to.

The user data paints a complex picture. Although the user base of Google+ is huge, the average time spend on the network is only 6.5 minutes per month per user.  This suggests that users are nowhere close to being as active on Google+ as they are on Facebook — which claims to have an 8.3 hour average time spend per month for their 1.25+ billion users. So is it worthwhile for businesses to provide social media customer service for their Google+ users?

A quick look at this data indicates that the their low response rate — and their rationale behind it — is justified. But, there are some real problems with comparing Google+ to other social networks in a straight apple-to-apple comparison. While Facebook is more for talking to family and friends, Google+ is more about exchanging content — and getting connected to the overall Google ecosystem of apps, search, and maps.  It’s a different type of social connectivity — ignore it at your peril.

Three reasons why Google+ matters now for your business

1. SEO – Google+ pages and their content are placed In a priority position in Google searches. Having an  up-to-date company presentation on Google+ is an essential part of your brand’s internet visibility. Along with your content, user commentary on Google+ is easily searchable and is key to supporting confidence in the brand’s reputation and for motivating visitors to visit a company website or to join a marketing campaign.

2. Reputation management – Company activity — or inactivity such as a missed customer inquiry –is  displayed to the entire Google+ community. This can easily cause an unnecessary crisis if a random visitor’s negative comment snowballs, with more social media users adding their comments and influence to magnify the issue’s publicity impact. Even one unanswered customer service query may cause a loss of brand reputation worth tens of thousands of dollars.

3. Competitive advantage – Get ahead of the pack by launching official customer services on Google+ with a guaranteed response time that’s shorter than what’s offered by your competitors (that often don’t guarantee any response). This message will be positively received by the public and media, and help position your company as a customer-centric innovator – a good position to have in today’s highly competitive environment.

Get the balance right with Google+

Google+ is an operational dilemma for businesses: What is the easiest way to provide effective customer service and keep costs low — all before business-specific results can be recognized?

One way is to integrate Google+ page monitoring into already existing social customer care processes, automatically routing (assigning) the incoming posts to the social media team in place and apply the same SLA standards that are used on Facebook or on Twitter channels. Google+ can be a powerful friend as well as a potential enemy. Which it is going to be is, however, entirely up to you…Businesses can not afford to jeopardize their position in this expanding Google universe.

Brand Embassy expands its customer service software to Google+

 

You may have already enjoyed Google+ channel monitoring with Brand Embassy for some time. But now we’ve expanded this to support full Google+ engagement. You can now monitor and engage customers on your Google+ channel from within Brand Embassy the same way you do for Facebook and Twitter. Google+ is supported throughout Brand Embassy’s Care, Publish and Workflow Reports. Our Social CRM also supports Google+ in the same way as Facebook and Twitter are handled.

Enough talking about it, these things you just need to try. Sign up for a free 14-day trial now. Happy engaging!

Google+ fist image resource: www.socialmediatoday.com

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