Findings: Why Companies Should Talk to Customers

ExpoTV recently ran a research study to determine how do consumers relate to each other. While this isn’t Forrester Research, so I will not defend, nor explain their methodology. It’s rare that analysts point to research other than their own, if I put your interests first, you’ll continue to come back to me.

Blog ExpoTV found that:

  • 55% of customers in their survey want to have an ongoing discussion brands
  • Respondents were most anxious to talk to the product design (49%) department, followed by customer support (14%), marketing (14%) and pricing (13%)
  • 89% said they felt more loyal if they knew the brand was listening through a feedback group (attention insight community vendors)
  • WOM: Sixty-one percent of survey respondents said that they told at least 10 people about the last brand they liked.
  • WOM: Eighty-one percent of respondents will tell at least five people.
  • Despite this evidence, it’s interesting to note that a recent WSJ Article that Most Corporate Blogs Are Unimaginative Failures featuring a Forrester report shows that many corporate blogs (a common way companies talk to customers) isn’t going that well. One common mis-step is that corporate blogs are focused on pushing their own agenda, not that of the readers/customers.

    • http://www.sensorpro.net Jon Erickson

      Jeremiah,

      I am in the market research arena working with large brand management companies and we just concluded a research project for a small brand company looking to implement social network aspects to their marketing program. A lot of our research focused on the whole aspect of customer loyalty and WOM activities. It was amazing how many comments came back just to say thanks for asking us and give us more opportunities to have a conversation with you.

      So like you I can not defend the survey methodology, I do find the results to be in line with what we find in our research.

    • http://koolaidantidote.wordpress.com/ Tom Kasperski

      The 89% figure supports my long held belief. Now I have a figure to cite. Thanks!

      btw, I’m noticing more examples of companies reaching out to dissatisfied consumers (e.g. Amazon 1&2 star reviews) in an attempt to make things right. Some reviewers are even posting addendums with compliments to the companies for doing so. I can only imagine the impact this has on subsequent readers who are considering a purchase.

    • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

      Tom, great! But cite Expo TV (I don’t know them) not me or Forrester.

      You’re right, many companies are reaching out, but not just big ones, I know that mom and pop restaurants are also doing this due to Yelp reviews.

    • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

      Jon thanks!

      When we see multiple independent research efforts all point the same direction, that’s a major indicator isn’t it?

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    • http://agencysocialmedia.blogspot.com Andy Dunbar

      Thanks Jeremiah, I saw the Expo TV blog and their findings but you put it in an easy way to read and follow.

    • Christopher Coulter

      Only small companies ever even bother, talking is too much hassle, a 10 million yapping voices, all demanding and yelling, thinking they should be Product Designers. Easier to cast the demographic net and form focus groups, talking is the least efficient method possible.

      Commodity grants good product and value, but distance and retail churn with part-time “service”. Local/Small biz grants craftmanship and high-level service, but limited variety and higher costs. Life is full of trade-offs.

    • http://www.twitter.com/nickleung Nick Leung

      Exactly! That’s why http://www.getsatisfaction.com is such a great app, allowing a discussion between consumers and companies.

    • http://lizsun2gmail.com Liz Strauss

      Well said, Jeremiah. Thanks for putting this across. Corporate blogs aren’t working for exactly the reasons you point out . . . which makes them inherently boring. No one wants to listen to a person who only talks about himself (or herself) No one wants to listen to a company that does that either.

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    • http://www.trophies2go.com engraved crystal paperweight

      I agree with Mr. Jeremiah. More companies, may it be big or small should start reaching out to the consumer to know what they really want.

    • http://www.teledirect.com/ Phillip Eastwood

      This only cements the fact that customers do want to talk to the companies behind the products and services they patronize. It must be understood by business owners that transactions don’t start and end with a purchase. That’s why companies should always have an open line for communication between them and their market, and having corporate blogs is not enough.