Companies not using social nets at risk, report says

Study says consumers unsatisfied that more businesses don't use social media to communicate

A majority of consumers want to interact with companies over social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but only 30% of businesses are prepared for it, according to a survey.

With 70% of the consumers who responded to the survey saying that they're looking for information and communication on social networks, companies failing to get onboard with them are putting themselves at risk, according to Yankee Group Research Inc., an industry analyst firm that worked on the survey with Siemens Enterprise Communications, a business software company.

The survey of 750 Americans in March and April also revealed that consumer satisfaction with their business interactions on social networks came in at 65%.

"Social media is changing the way businesses, customers and employees interact, and this creates significant opportunities for contact centers and the enterprise as a whole to leverage the integration of these tools into business processes," said Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala in a statement. "As integration of social media improves within the contact center and with unified communications and collaboration, businesses can improve customer interactions and positively impact employee productivity and collaboration."

The study notes that businesses may not be using social networking sites or adopting enterprise 2.0 tools fast enough to satisfy many of their customers.

Yankee and Siemens Enterprise reported that nearly 60% of those surveyed said company outreach through social media would make them more loyal to that company. Most of those surveyed said they want companies to monitor social networks for customer comments and complaints.

Researchers also noted that 50% of those surveyed said that they use social media at least once a day.

Earlier this year, Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at MIT's Sloan School of Management, told Computerworld that many companies have slowly started to use enterprise 2.0 tools, and he said that's only the beginning of changes that will come in the way people work and the way companies do business.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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