A report by Gartner predicts that refusing to communicate on social media will be as harmful to businesses as ignoring emails or phone calls.
According to the research firm using social media to promote products and communicate with consumers will be the new basic level of response expected by 2014.
"The dissatisfaction stemming from failure to respond via social channels can lead to up to a 15 percent increase in churn rate for existing customers," said Carol Rozwell, vice president at Gartner. "It's crucial that organizations implement approaches to handling social media now. The effort involved in addressing social media commentary is not good cause to ignore relevant comments or solvable issues."
Gartner advises businesses to create frameworks on how to deal with social media commentary as well as outlining when responding or not responding is appropriate.
Although more than 50% of organisation track social media only 23% actually collect and analyze data. Gartner reveals that most organisations do not keep track of their interactions on social media or social profiles of consumers they engage with.
"It's important not only to keep records of individual conversations, but constantly to analyze the interactions to see what insights can be gleaned from them," said Rozwell.
Organisations are advised to start practicing responding on a daily basis so it will not become overlooked. Practising customer engagement and sharing social media knowledge throughout a business is a good start to provide great customer service through social channels.
"We urge organisations to do three things," said Rozwell. Firstly, participate -- it's important that organisations don't let a fear of someone saying something bad about them stop them from participating in social media. Secondly, don't assume all comments require the same level of attention -- develop an appropriate response for the different types of interaction your business faces. Thirdly, plan for an increase in social commentary and adapt communications practices to cope -- this will require changes to job descriptions, performance metrics and business processes."
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