How fast should you respond to comments on Facebook?

Last week, I shared a quote from the CEO of PF Chang’s China Bistro:

“If you are going to open up a dialogue with customers, you better show up to the conversation.”

So when I saw an article in Nation’s Restaurant News entitled,Speed matters when it comes to Facebook,” I began to wonder how well companies are actually conversing with their customers. According to a study by Expion, which was published in the article, there are wide variances in the speed and frequency with which restaurants respond to comments posted on Facebook.

Opinions vary from one restaurant to another about what percent of comments they should respond to.

“We think nearly everything warrants a response,” said Chris Arnold, spokesperson for Chipotle. “For a company like ours where so much of the marketing is driven by word-of-mouth and things that feed word-of-mouth, these platforms are really great tools to use.”

KFC and Panda Express clearly exhibit a different philosophy.

This leads me to pose five questions for which every company should have answers:

  1. What is our desired response time to comments on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms?
  2. Should our desired response time vary by platform and type of comment?
  3. Which types of comments warrant a reply and which types do not?
  4. What is our actual response time and response quality?
  5. What will be our systems and resourcing plan to achieve our desired responsiveness goals?

Companies that operate call centers to interact with customers have all these questions answered and have standardized metrics and procedures in place. It’s time to bring the same discipline to interacting with customers via social media.

How many of the five questions can your company currently answer?