Top Brands Go Head to Head in Alterian's Social Media Customer Service Test

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Industry leaders duel for social media customer service bragging rights – with some surprising results.

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The results of Alterian’s brand engagement study confirm the importance of social media as a vital customer engagement tool for even the largest organizations.

Alterian (LSE: ALN), the leader in customer engagement technology and solutions, today announced the results of its brand engagement study, an analysis of the social media customer engagement effectiveness of top brands across six industries: travel, banking, cable, mobile, gaming and consumer electronics.

Key among the study’s findings is a correlation between rapid customer service response times and positive consumer sentiment on social media. Using Alterian’s social media monitoring tool, SM2, the engagement study tracked nearly 350,000 social media mentions over more than six months.

For each of the six industries included in the study, Alterian researchers picked two competing brands and reached out to them via Twitter. Brands were asked a variety of standard customer service requests, such as “Can you point me to your price plans online?” Across all six industries, the brand with the faster response time enjoyed higher favorability ratings during the period studied.

So who's better at social media customer service – Dell or HP? American Airlines or Delta? Here are the study results for each industry:

•Travel – American Airlines outperformed Delta
•Banking – Citi bested Bank of America
•Cable – Time Warner beat Comcast
•Mobile – AT&T edged out Verizon
•Gaming – Microsoft (Xbox) outranked Sony (Playstation)
•Consumer Electronics – Dell surpassed HP

Based on the study results, Microsoft was the top performer across all industries, achieving the highest overall score for social media customer service.

“The results of Alterian’s brand engagement study confirm the importance of social media as a vital customer engagement tool for even the largest organizations,” said Mike Talbot, President of Alterian. “Some of the brands this study looked at are setting the curve for what a social media presence should be, but others are at risk of being left behind. Consumers are taking notice, and brands are being rewarded or punished accordingly.”

For a roundup of the results complete with visuals, visit

Alterian analyzed more than 348,000 mentions of 12 major brand names across social media sites from Jan. 1, 2011 until June 16, 2011, ranking each brand according to volume (number of brand mentions) and sentiment (ratio of positive to negative mentions) on a scale from 1 to 12, with 12 being the top score.

Alterian researchers messaged the customer service Twitter account for each brand, asking the same question for brands in the same industry. The time of day was the same for each brand, and response times were averaged. The number of responses (out of a possible 9) and the average response time (ranked from 1 to 12) were added to the volume and sentiment results to get a best possible score of 45.

About Alterian:
Alterian (LSE: ALN) enables organizations to create relevant, effective and engaging experiences with their customers and prospects through social, digital, and traditional marketing channels. Alterian’s Customer Engagement solutions are focused in four main areas: Social Media, Web Content Management, Email, and Campaign Management & Analytics.

Alterian technology is utilized either to address a specific marketing challenge or as part of an integrated marketing platform, with analytics and customer engagement with the individual at the heart of everything. Working alongside a rich ecosystem of partners, Alterian delivers its software as a service, or on premise. For more information about Alterian visit or the Alterian blog at


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Jackie Lampugnano
Walker Sands Communications
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