As social media usage becomes more ubiquitous, affluent consumers are using social media channels to share their personal customer service experiences and learn about others' care experiences when making purchase decisions. This is among the initial findings of a new Society for New Communications Research study, "Exploring the Link Between Customer Care and Brand Reputation in the Age of Social Media”.
More than 300 consumers who are active Internet users participated in a survey focusing on how customer care influences brand reputation given the widespread adoption of social media. Top findings include:
-- 59.1% of respondents use social media to "vent" about a customer care experience
-- 72.2% 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
-- Search engines are the most valuable online tools for this research, according to respondents. Those rated of no value include micro-blogging sites like Twitter or Pownce (39%), YouTube (27%) and social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace (22%)
Dell and Amazon were cited more often than any other company when asked which types of companies have done the best job in using social media to respond to customer care issues. In terms of industry segments, technology, retail, and travel companies were reported as doing the best job, while utilities, health care, and insurance were least likely to receive positive endorsements.
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