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Research from SAP UK & Ireland shows how social media has become a key source of information, influencing the purchasing decisions of consumers.  Just under a quarter of consumers (22%) have bought from a specific brand or retailer based on a recommendation seen on a social network. While one in eight (12%) have stopped using or buying from a brand due to negative social media posts.

 

The independent survey of over 1,000 UK online shoppers, who use social networks, has highlighted the importance of brands engaging with customers online, during the Christmas shopping period and beyond. Despite concerns over gifts arriving in time (58%), a third (32%) of consumers said they plan to do at least three quarters of their shopping online this year. The weight attached to a brand’s online reputation is demonstrated in the survey results, with 45% of respondents able to recall a negative social media post about a brand within the last six months.

 

Findings from the survey also point strongly towards the benefits of social media interaction between brands and consumers. Four in ten consumers would feel more valued as a customer if a brand responded to a negative social media post in a timely fashion. In addition, just under a quarter of respondents (22%) would share the news of a brand’s responsiveness with online followers.

 

Key findings of the research include:

 

  • An average of seven negative comments on social media leads consumers to think worse about a brand
  • While an average of eight causes consumers to think twice about buying from a brand
  • 52% of people think brands should respond directly if someone leaves a negative comment on social media
  • 48% of consumers expect a response within half a day
  • While over a quarter (28%) think one hour is the maximum they should have to wait before a brand responds

 

“With Christmas just around the corner, there will be even more customer touchpoints with brands and therefore increased opportunity to build or lose brand loyalty,” said Roland van Breukelen, Solution Advisor – SAP Customer OnDemand, SAP Cloud, EMEA. “It’s clear that social media has become a trusted source of information for consumers when it comes to making purchasing decisions. With negative comments often dominating the headlines, brands are mostly unaware of the positive effects proactively using social media and directly responding to posts has – both on the brand’s reputation and customer experience.”

 

Further findings from the research highlight the high expectations consumers have when it comes to the type of response they expect to receive from brands on social media. Respondents cited the most important things are quality (73%) and personalisation (72%) in response to negative comment.

 

“Simply having a presence and being seen to be responding is not nearly enough to appease today’s consumers,” said van Breukelen. “It’s equally as important – if not more so – to be providing specific and relevant information to the customer, tailoring responses to their specific comment or issue. Without doing so brands are evidently at risk of losing custom and damaging brand reputation. Not responding to a negative social media post is just as bad as not answering the phone; in fact it is worse because it is visible to everyone including your competitive brands. It’s as simple as that.”

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