But, here’s another reason: According to a new study, affluent consumers – i.e. the customers you want – are using social media tools to share their customer service experiences as well as to learn about the “care experiences” of others during the purchase decision making process. This is among the initial findings in new study by the Society for New Communications Research entitled, Exploring the Link Between Customer Care and Brand Reputation in the Age of Social Media.
These findings emphasize that how you treat your current customers has a dramatic impact on new business as well as repeat business.
The study examined affluent/active Internet users and how “customer care” influences brand reputation — given the widespread use of social media tools (e.g. podcasts, blogs, etc.).
The top findings — summarized below — strongly suggest that every entrepreneur needs to focus time, energy and resource on ensuring that current (and future) customers have consistent positive customer experiences:
59 % of respondents use social media to “vent” about a customer care experience
72 % of respondents research companies’ customer care online prior to purchasing products and services at least sometimes
84% of respondents consider the quality of customer care at least sometimes in their decision to do business with a company
74% choose companies/brands based on others’ customer care experiences shared online
84% of respondents consider the quality of customer care in their decision to do business with a company at least sometimes
81% believe that blogs, online rating systems and discussion forums can give consumers a greater voice regarding customer care, but less than 33% believe that businesses take customers’ opinions seriously
In terms of industry segments, technology, retail, and travel companies were reported as doing the best job, while utilities, health care, and insurance were the least likely to receive positive endorsements.
The researchers conclude that the “…most savvy and sought-after consumers will not support companies with poor customer care reputations and, they will talk about all of this openly with others via multiple online vehicles”.
By the way, if you’re trying to get your head around social media – don’t feel discouraged, you’re not alone. Check out our blog entries on July 30th and July 31st – for a quick overview and some very useful resources.