If you are a business owner, you will be well aware of how important it is to respond to customer e-mails and telephone calls. But prompt engagement through those channels will no longer be enough within a couple of years, Gartner warns. By 2014 customers will be expecting to have their inquiries on social media treated with the same attention, and failure on the part of companies to oblige will be every bit as harmful as letting phone calls and e-mails go unanswered, the IT research and advisory firm predicts.
Gartner vice-president Carol Rozwell said in a statement that leaving social media inquiries without a response breeds dissatisfaction that can result in an increase of as much as 15% in customer churn rate. It is absolutely vital that companies waste not a second in implementing strategies to handle social media commentary. Granted, this is a task that requires quite a bit of effort but that is no legitimate excuse to turn a blind eye to relevant comments and solvable issues, Rozwell pointed out.
Gartner suggests that business organisations should do three things. The first one is obviously to participate, overcoming the fear of negative comments for the sake of constructive engagement with customers. The second is to discard the assumption that all comments deserve equal attention and to vest an individual or a team with decision-making powers concerning which need to be addressed. Finally, companies should be ready to cope with a rise in social media commentary activity and adjust their communications practices accordingly, which could involve changing performance metrics and job roles.