While Twitter might be a fantastic marketing vehicle, more and more businesses are harnessing its power as a low-cost, high-impact customer care center. Answering complaints and questions on Twitter is a great way to engage one-on-one with your customers, while maintaining a public image.

Newly launched Engagement Index touts itself as the first company to actually measure businesses’ customer service efforts, providing industry-level reports to show how well companies are handling their 140-character-loving customers.

EngagementIndex takes a look at individual sectors to see who’s doing customer services best on Twitter. The companies included in the analysis are all given a score between 0 and 100 based on whether, and how quickly, they respond to direct customer tweets.

TheDrum was able to speak to EngagementIndex co-founder Mark Shaw about what exactly his firm is measuring when they give out their scores:

“If we were looking at Sainsbury’s were would only look at those who contacted the supermarket using @sainsburys. We want people to see people who contact companies using the right Twitter handle, and if they do, then we would expect them to reply.

We then look at if they reply, and how quickly they do so. With our algorithm, the quicker a company replies, then the more points they will get. And if they haven’t replied within two day, then forget it, we’re not interested.”

Thus far, EngagementIndex has examined the Twitter customer service of five sectors: Supermarkets, Utilities, Trains, Banking and Mobile Operators.

Of these five, mobile operators score the highest when it comes to engaging their customers on Twitter, scoring 47.23.

Digging deeper, you can see which company in each sector is the leader when it comes to tweeting to their customers. Of the mobile operators, for instance, O2, Vodaphone and Orange shone when it came to replying to the most direct @mentions from their customers. O2 responded to 764 messages within two days during the analysis period, while the other two responded to over 500 each.

It takes a lot of time and effort to be at the top of your game when dealing with customers on Twitter, but the payoff is high: you can increase customer loyalty, word-of-mouth advertising, and build a solid online reputation by carefully monitoring and responding to Twitter users reaching out to your brand.

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