By 2014 organizations that refuse to communicate with customers by social media will face the same level of wrath as those that ignore emails and phone calls today.
As familiarity with social media grows, customers expectations about how organizations will use these channels are evolving. The new minimum level of response expected will be for organizations to use social media to promote products and respond to inquiries.
The dissatisfaction stemming from failure to respond via social channels can lead to up to a 15 per cent increase in churn rate for existing customers.
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.
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 issue must be addressed publicly, promptly and within the same media it was made.
Generally the best practice is to acknowledge the issue on social media, but to move attempts to resolve the issue offline.
Some organizations have implemented the first stages of a social media engagement process, but they make the mistake of treating engagements as ad hoc. While over half of organizations monitor social media, only 23 per cent collect and analyze data. This means that most organizations do not keep records of interactions occurring on social media and do not keep social profiles for people they have engaged 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.
Developing a means for acting on social data will provide a competitive advantage by providing exceptional customer experience through increasingly significant social channels. Firms such as Internet & Social Media Advertising specialize in setting this up for you.
Organizations are urged to do three things. Firstly, participate — it’s important that organizations 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.
Contact us now to discuss the implementation of your social media campaign now.