By 2014, organisations that refuse to communicate with customers through 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.
As familiarity with social media grows, customer expectations about how organisations will use these channels are evolving. For organisations that use social media to promote their products, responding to inquiries via social media channels will be the new minimum level of response expected, according to a study by global research and analyst firm Gartner Inc.
''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,'' said Carol Rozwell, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
''It's crucial that organisations 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,'' Rozwell added.
However, not all comments on the social web are aimed directly at organisations.
Gartner recommends that organisations develop a framework to deal with social media commentary on relevant topics. The framework must complement how an organisation 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.