As familiarity with social media grows, customers' expectations about how organizations will use these channels are evolving. By 2014, organizations that refuse to communicate with customers by social media will face the same level of wrath from customers as those that ignore today's basic expectation that they will respond to emails and phone calls. For organizations that use social media to promote their products, responding to inquiries via social media channels will be the new minimum level of response expected.
“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 and distinguished analyst 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.”
However, not all comments on the social web are aimed directly at organizations. Gartner recommends that organizations develop a framework to deal with social media commentary on relevant topics. The framework must complement how an organization deals with a direct enquiry received through social channels and should address whether a response is warranted, who should respond if it is, and what action is necessary following any response.
To respond or not?
Social media leaders must develop a process for deciding whether to respond to public or client-prompted social engagements. A person or team needs to have the power to decide whether a comment is relevant and whether the issue presented is solvable, or whether there are positive dimensions to what is being said that should be recorded.
It’s also important to accept that it’s impracticable and counterproductive to respond to everything. For example, if a comment is clearly inflammatory and unsolvable, it is usually best not to respond at all. However, if a person is an existing customer logging a harsh but legitimate complaint, the