Social Media Creates Brand Advocates

harris-consumer-action-social-complaints-mar11.gifRetailers can use social media to turn consumers who have had a negative experience with their brand into brand advocates, according to [pdf] a new report from RightNow and Harris Interactive. Data from “The Retail Consumer Report” indicates 68% of US consumers who posted a complaint or negative review of a holiday shopping experience during the 2010 holiday season were contacted by the retailer.

Social Media Contact Produces Results

Of that 68% who were contacted following a negative social media posting, 34% deleted their original negative review. Another 33% turned around and posted a positive review, while 18% became a loyal customer and bought more.
These figures mean that 85% of customers who posted a negative review of a shopping experience and were then contacted by the retailer wound up taking an action that was positive for the retailer. Two-thirds (67%) of them took an action through social media directly negating their original negative posting.

Many Ignored Consumers Would Be Shocked Otherwise

rightnow-negative-review-no-contact-mar-20111.JPGIn many cases, the 32% of US consumers who posted a negative review of a holiday shopping experience in 2010 and were ignored by the retailer simply had a bad impression reinforced. Six in 10 (61%) of these consumers said they would have been shocked had the retailer contacted them.

Great Customer Service Drives Online Buying Decisions

A full half (50%) of consumers cited great customer service and/or a previous positive experience as influencing their decision to buy from a specific online retailer. After a positive online shopping experience, 31% of consumers purchased more from the retailer, 21% recommended the retailer to their friends, and 13% posted a positive social media review.

Other Findings

  • 85% of consumers said they would be willing to pay anywhere between 5-25% over the standard price to ensure a superior customer experience.
  • Nearly a third (31%) of consumers researched what customers said on social networking and reviews websites while shopping online.
  • After a negative holiday shopping experience with an online retailer, 21% of consumers decided not to buy anything from the retailer.
  • 38% of consumers turned to a retailer’s website for information or support with online shopping.
  • 22% of consumers were frustrated by information that was inconsistent between the retailer’s website and customer service agents.

US Youth Use SocNets

Retailers focusing on a young customer demographic might want to pay extra attention to results of this report as a high percentage of US youth ages 8-24 uses social networking sites, according to another recent study from Harris Interactive. Results from “YouthPulse 2010? indicate three-quarters of 8-to-24-year-olds use a social networking site and about two-thirds (68%) spend time on a social networking site daily.

About the Data: The Retail Consumer Report was commissioned by RightNow and conducted online by Harris Interactive in January 2011 among 1,605 online US adults who shopped online during the most recent holiday season.

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