Broadband providers with the best Twitter customer support revealed

Customers are turning to the social media teams of internet providers for help with their broadband and answers to general enquiries, and yet it seems it's sometimes wiser to pick up the phone if you want a speedy response.

Research into which of the broadband providers give the best customer service on Twitter has found it to be a mixed bag overall.

A study by social media analysts WaveMetrix found Sky (@SkyHelpTeam) is generally the fastest of all the main UK providers at answering customer queries on Twitter, responding to 59% of tweets in under an hour.

Sky's fixation on fast replies can have its downsides for some customers, however, with 37% of people who tweet Sky left waiting six hours or more for a response. This is likely because they're accidentlally overlooked as staff rush to answer others.

While Sky's rival Virgin Media (@virginmedia) is normally slower to reply, it makes fewer customers wait a long time for an answer.

Shaun Hewitt, head of social media at Virgin Media, told "We've built a strong, dedicated team of social media experts who really understand the customer experience and are on hand to help with enquiries every day of the week.

"We take pride in engaging people on social media and have conversations with them that build valuable relationships in a truly Virgin way. It's great to see this approach paying off and be recognised as one of the best ISPs for customer support on Twitter."

It's clear from the report that providers each have their own approaches to Twitter support, and while some may prioritise the speed of their response, others are more concerned with being consistently helpful - even if it causes delay.

The slowest replies were from BT (@BTCare), and EE (@EE), which, respectively, left 72%, 92% and 99% of customers waiting more than six hours.

Although they were slower, both BT and TalkTalk are among only a few providers to respond to almost every single tweet they receive within 48 hours.

Their focus is simply on helping everyone, no matter how long it takes - rather than helping some customers within an hour while others are left hanging for several days.

What the WaveMatrix study proves once and for all is that Twitter has become massively used for broadband customer support, and that providers on the whole are doing a good job at assisting their users through social media.

However, it also suggests that if your problem is urgent it's probably wisest to pick up the phone for a guaranteed, more immediate response.

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