Now more than ever, retailers have been focusing on delivering stellar customer service. But the reality is, few companies have figured how to utilize popular social platforms to better serve shoppers. During the busy holiday shopping season, it’s likely many disgruntled customers will turn to Twitter for timely help especially when they haven’t received fast and friendly help through another channel.

A new report by social customer service platform Conversocial shows that top retailers received twice the average daily volume of tweets during the holiday period when compared to October, and (not surprisingly) the volume of customer service tweets correlates with the retailer’s tweets about sales, events and promotions.

For the report, Conversocial analyzed 200,000 “@ mentions” from 10 major retailers during Holiday 2012: Barney’s, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks, Sears, Target, Urban Outfitters, and Walmart. Key findings include:

  • Average daily volume during the week after Cyber Monday surged to 5x volumes in October.
  • Walmart had the highest number of Tweets over the holiday period (16,267) followed by Target (12,094).
  • JC Penney had the highest percentage of tweets about in-store experiences from shoppers at nearly 30%.
  • Macy’s had the highest number of Tweets about customer satisfaction, and the fewest Tweets about customer service issues.

So with these findings in mind, how can retailers prepare for an expected influx of tweets during peak holiday shopping periods? Conversocial offers the following recommendations:

  1. Ensure that social service resources are matched to outbound campaigns.

  2. Properly prepare your team well in advance of promotional offers that may result in product availability issues.

  3. When training multi-channel agents, focus on tone of voice, how to handle issues in public (as opposed to more private channels they may be used to, like email and phone), and relevant tools and processes.

  4. Enforce a stricter approval and escalation process in the holiday period.

  5. Consider extending social customer service hours to 24/7 (if not already) to meet the hours your shoppers will be online.

According to a 2012 NM Incite study, 71% of customers who have a positive experience on social networks are likely to recommend that brand to others. So by ensuring your social customer service agents are well prepared for the holidays, you can take control of your brand’s reputation and deliver experiences that your customers will tell their friends and family about at the Christmas table.

Read the original post at Happy Customer download the full Conversocial report, including 12 days of tips for retailers, here.