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March 26, 2017

20 minutes is too long for Twitter Customer Service

By michaelpace on December 20, 2011

Service Level expectations

Recently, I read an interesting post from Simply Measured about @HyattConcierge Twitter Customer Service metrics.  The article started the brain flywheel spinning with thoughts on what do customers see as acceptable and superior service levels.

               Which tweets or social posts should be replied to?
               How quickly should a tweet or social post be responded to?
               Should the brand or company always reply?
               What are customers’ expectations on business hours?

See full article here, please also see their live report.  The post states @HyattConcierge Twitter response time goal (service level) is 20 minutes. Their business hours are 9-5 (I am assuming Central Time since they are headquartered in Chicago).  20 minutes? In 20 minutes, I can walk down 10 flights of stairs and resolve my question at the front desk, plus I will be tired and aggravated.  And only 9-5?  Usually when I stay at a hotel, I am there more than just the hours of 9-5.  Their Twitter page shows them available 24/7? hyattconcierge

I am happy to see that Hyatt has the ability to monitor these metrics, and has service level goals.  But are they the right goals?

In my humble opinion, these sound like service level goals created by what the company wants or can do, instead of starting from the customer’s point of view.  It would be interesting to me to know if their social customer service is handled and lead by Marketing, or by their Customer Service department.

TIP: Before you commit to providing Social Customer Service (full time versus experimentation), you need to be clear on what your service level goals are, and set up your organization to provide those levels of service. 

Before I provide my thoughts on superior social service levels (because I am not in the business of having average or benchmark customer service), you need to understand you customer’s needs and expectations.  Here are generic superior social service levels.

Twitter: (during stated business hours)

Response Time

@ mentions

Direct Messages

Generic mentions

5 minutes (max)

100% reply (unless Troll)

100% reply

Based on context

You also should not forget to follow social reply tenants:

  • Know your customer
  • Acknowledge
  • Be transparent & human
  • Know when to keep online, take offline or move near-line

Other Social Networks:


Response Time



20 minutes – 2 hours

Always dependent on the comment, see if your Facebook community will jump in first, but every Facebook comment should have something from the brand/company

8 hours

Slightly longer is acceptable to most on LinkedIn.  Great place for your community to respond

4 hours

If you choose to respond by video, write a comment first that a video response is coming.  Video response is not a necessity

3 hours

Bloggers like to be acknowledged
Branded Communities

0 – 48 hours

If they need urgent support, don’t wait for your community.  Otherwise let your community take a shot at the comment.  If the comment goes 2 days without acknowledgement or response, jump in

Most importantly, start with your customers first, and operationalize based on their expectations (then exceed them).  By starting with your customers first, you can build the organization and expectations to support their needs.  Just forming a group to handle these requests/concerns/mentions may actually disappoint before they help out a customer.  “Yes, it’s great you replied, but I needed your help 4 hours ago”.

What do you feel are superior social customer service goals?

Do you have service level goals for your social customer support?

Are you working backwards from the customer?

About mpace101


  1. 4 Comments

    Nice article, Michael. I agree wholeheartedly with your view. Too many times I’ve seem brands leap onto the Social Media bandwagon with no idea of the effort that will be involved to be credible. I find it exasperating to contact a brand that advertises ‘Find us on facebook/twitter/Digg/stumbledupon/uncletomcobblyandall’ yet fails to even remotely help.

    That said I give credit to the Hilton hotel who responded (within 10 mins) to a moan I made on Twitter by getting their hotel manager to call me personally and apologise when my hotel had no hot water. I had only mentioned the city, not the actual hotel, and I wasn’t expecting a response of any kind so when it’s done well it really works. In this scenario I think it’s incumbent on us to acknowledge good service in the same way we highlight the bad. So you might add another table giving the customer’s obligation in this social space. We all win by sharing.

  2. 4 Comments


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