A new study shows brands that can both walk the walk and talk the talk (deliver effective service and produce effective marketing) on social media are moving ahead of the pack in terms of satisfaction scores, driving purchasing decisions and attracting a new generation of customers.
The inaugural J.D. Power and Associates Social Media Benchmark Study is based on responses from more than 23,000 U.S. online consumers who have interacted with a company via social media and measures the overall consumer experience (marketing and customer service) of more than 100 U.S. brands across six major industries: airlines, auto, banking, credit card, telecom and utilities.
The report notes that of the consumers who were highly satisfied with both a brand’s marketing and service delivery, 87% say their online social interaction with the company “positively impacted” the likelihood that they’ll purchase from that brand. Key to higher satisfaction levels were the availability of quality content and responsive service representatives. Out of the six industries reported on in the survey, the automobile industry was found to be the best in balancing both marketing and servicing engagement (which includes answering specific consumer questions or resolving problems).
Key findings from the 2013 report:
- 67% of the more than 23,000 consumers surveyed had used a company’s social media site for servicing; 33% had used it for social marketing.
- Consumers 18 to 29-years-old are more likely to use a brand’s social media site for servicing interactions (43%) than for marketing (23%), showing the importance of incorporating social media as an emerging customer service channel.
- For consumers ages 30 to 49, use of social media for marketing and servicing is divided straight up the middle (39% for each); while 38% of those 50 and older interact with a brand’s social media site for marketing and only 18% use it for customer service.
“While there are vast differences among age groups in the frequency of servicing and marketing engagements, there is a consistency in the impact on brand perception and purchase intent through both types of engagement,” said Jacqueline Anderson, J.D. Power and Associates director of social media and text analytics, in a recent press release.
“Companies that are focused only on promoting their brand and deals, or only servicing existing customers, are excluding major groups of their online community, negatively impacting their satisfaction and influencing their future purchasing decision. A one-pronged approach to social is no longer an option.
“If your customers want service and you’re pushing discount coupons out to them while ignoring their attempts to connect with you, you’re going to end up with dissatisfied customers,” warned Anderson.
Brands Doing Both Well
While many brands in the report fared well in either social media marketing (24 brands total) or social media servicing (21 brands total), few spanned both columns, but there were seven exceptions. Recognized for a commendable balance of social marketing and social servicing efforts were:
- Airline Industry: Southwest Airlines and Virgin America
- Auto Industry: Ford and Toyota
- Banking: Capital One/Chevy Chase, Chase
- Credit Card: none listed for both service and marketing
- Telecom: none listed for both service and marketing
- Utilities: Florida Power & Light
To read more about the inaugural J.D. Power and Associates Social Media Benchmark Study, click here.