Why do rich people get better service on the web?

donald trump social media

I’m involved in this fascinating new project called The Social Habit.  We’re focusing the power and experience of Edison Research on the field of social media and it is producing some incredible results, including one that blew my mind.

Some of the most interesting and useful set insights have come in the area of social media’s impact on customer service.

Jay Baer, one of my partners on the project, wrote a superb post articulating some of the revelations about expectations of social media and customer service. A few highlights included:

  • Among respondents to The Social Habit who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 32% expect a response within 30 minutes.
  • 42% expect a response within 60 minutes.
  • Our research found that among those respondents who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.

Whoa.  Huge implications for companies and their customers.

But a deeper dive into Social Habit data reveals a perplexing new insight about companies providing service through social media:

Rich people apparently get better service. Check it out:

Twitter customer service

Twitter customer service response

Now, let me emphasize that this is no casual data set. This is a conclusion from robust research and there is a statistically significant difference between those in the income “over $100,000” category and the others. Why?

I have three hypotheses but I bet you can come up with other possibilities in the comment section.

Hypothesis one is that perhaps rich people complain to companies who are more likely to provide an effective response via social media, like an airline or luxury brand.

The second possibility, and this has somewhat of an icky factor, is that companies are baking consumer profile information (including income) into their CRM systems and respond more effectively to the people with the fattest wallets.

My friend and {grow} contributing columnist Kerry Gorgone has a third fascinating observation: “There are a number of factors at play, but I’d say the rich expect better service online because they get better service ‘in real life,’ where the trappings of their wealth are more readily apparent to customer service people. Having gotten used to a higher level of service, they make it clear they expect a response quickly.”

In other words, have the wealthy developed better complaining skills because they have been conditioned to expect better service?

I really have no idea.  All of these are just guesses. But there IS a difference.

What do you think? What is your reaction to this study?

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