Earlier this year, a report from Adobe and Econsultancy revealed that nearly 20% of socialmedia1client-side marketers identified customer experience as their most exciting opportunity for 2014.  This compares to only 18% who called mobile the most exciting opportunity. If businesses are so anxious to use customer experience as a marketing tool, it’s worth asking why these enterprises are not tackling negative social media comments with more urgency.

A study from Social Media Marketing University  (SMMU) shows that the vast majority of businesses with over 100 employees are using social media. Consumers stand to gain a great deal from interacting with their favorite brands and companies in this space, especially with respect to  a quality customer service experience.  Marketers can benefit as well when their customers post positive comments.

But, the interaction shouldn’t stop there. Consumers often take to the social media space to post negative comments. SMMU research shows that only 45% of marketers currently have a plan in place to deal with negative comments. Another 25% are working to develop a plan. That leave the 23% of marketers who don’t have formal plans for addressing negative comments and another 8% who say the current plan is ineffective.

Marketers are addressing negative comments as follows:

  • Within 1 hour 18%
  • Within 24 hours 52%
  • Within 1 week 9%
  • Rarely respond 21%

The good news is that marketers are monitoring what’s being said about them, but they should try to improve their response rates and times. As social media continues to grow and captures more advertising money, we can expect the level of comments, both negative and positive, to increase. If marketers believe that improving the customer experience is a key trend this year, they might want to begin by implementing guidelines on how to address negative comments with the goal of turning an unhappy customer into a brand evangelist.

How do you handle negative social comments about your company? Do you have a plan in place or do you manage the responses on an ad hoc basis.