50% of Social Media requests go unanswered in Africa – Report

Social media driving SMEs to power Africa’s economic growth

Across Sub-Saharan Africa, consumers are using social media to share their experiences with products and services but have not been receiving the responsive customer service they expect.

According to the African cross-industry sentiment index report by data firm BrandsEye, between May and July 2020, less than half of consumers who tweeted at telcos, insurers and banks looking for assistance, received a response from the brand.

The company used their proprietary blend of AI and human crowds to analyse 688 154 social media posts in the banking, insurance and telco industries to better understand consumer expectations online and how these have evolved, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key findings

Customers ignored when seeking help on social media

Less than half of all customers who reached out to their bank, insurer, and telco on social media received a response from their service provider. When organisations did respond, they took anywhere from one hour (in the Southern African insurance industry) to four days (in the East African banking industry).

Across regions the banking industry was the most responsive on social media, however, the industry also saw some of the slowest response times, with customers waiting for up to 99 hours (4 days) for a response from their bank. 

social media response rate

Digital channels are key touchpoints for African consumers

The conversation about mobile and app-based services was a key theme cited in conversation across all countries analysed. Consumers spoke about contacting brands across regions most frequently via their cell phones.

Consumers spoke more frequently about digital channels in the banking and telecommunications industries.

Scocial media net sentiment

Consumers most dissatisfied with telco brands

All telco providers analysed in this study had a negative overall Net Sentiment. More than half of telcos conversations featured either a request for assistance from a customer or a customer providing feedback to the brand. Airtel Africa received the lowest scores out of the companies analysed. This was evident across multiple countries of operation for the brand.

The insurance industry has been most impacted by Covid-19 conversation

One in 10 consumers speaking about insurance over the reporting period mentioned phrases related to Covid-19.  In Nigeria, this was primarily driven by the relief programs undertaken by insurance companies to reduce the effects of Covid-19 on customers. This included contactless doctors visits offered by AXA Mansard and premium discounts on vehicle insurance offered by Leadway Assurance.

Banking had the second-highest proportion of Covid-19-related conversation. This is often linked to the promotion of cashless and contactless payment solutions, digital platforms, as well as relief plans aimed at SMEs. 

BrandsEye CEO, Nic Ray explained that the firm wanted to gain a deeper understanding of how consumers interacted online with key brands and industries, particularly during the pandemic.

“Covid-19 has driven digital adoption across the world and especially in Africa.  We wanted to understand what consumers were feeling and how industries were handling the increased demand for social customer service.”

“As African governments and businesses encourage the use of digital platforms, and mobile internet penetration increases, more consumers are going to seek customer service on social media. How organisations identify, interpret, and respond to this growing source of consumer feedback will be critical to building sustained brand loyalty, reducing risk, and growing market share.” Ray added.