Social Falls Short On Customer Loyalty, Traditional Methods Encouraged


While much of the marketing community is focused on sealing better relationships between brands and consumers via social media, a new study from Pitney Bowes suggests that their efforts would be better spent in other areas.

In fact, the new study -- based on a survey of 5,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany -- found social media to be one of the least effective engagement techniques for encouraging customer loyalty for larger and small businesses alike.

The survey found that just 18% of the respondents believed that interaction with a larger company or its brands on social media would encourage them to buy from that business again.

The social media approach was deemed even less effective for smaller businesses, where just 15% of those responding said it would encourage their loyalty to a company.

“These findings will give decision-makers pause for thought,” the report stated. “Businesses can be forgiven for getting swept away by the hype of surrounding social media and wanting to invest in such activity as soon as possible. ... But results show that those businesses tempted to lead with such techniques will quickly find themselves out of step with customer thinking.”

Conversely, several other techniques are far more likely to resonate with consumers and encourage them to do repeat business with companies. They include a home-delivery option; having a say in products and services; control of channels and frequency of received communications and a choice of channels to contact a company. In each case, nearly half or more of the respondents said those tactics were preferred and effective for small and large businesses alike.

“All of these practices are aimed at increasing brand loyalty and retaining customers,” the Pitney Bowes survey summary states. "However, sophisticated social media and Web interaction can be time-consuming and expensive and outcomes are difficult to measure. .. Businesses are quickly having to learn the ‘customer dance’ -- when to lead and when to follow -- if relationships are to be nurtured.”

3 comments about "Social Falls Short On Customer Loyalty, Traditional Methods Encouraged".
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  1. William Hussey from Bell Media, November 21, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.

    Interesting that a mailstream company would conclude that social media falls short and encourage "traditional methods". Self-preservation is the key to survival...

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, November 21, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.

    Fair point William.

    It is as interesting as the deluge of the social media acolytes all hyping the impact of social media.

    At the end of the day, do the reported results seem incongruous? Hardly.

  3. Geoff Miller from Rhythm Interactive, November 29, 2011 at 11:31 a.m.

    Well lets see. If a consumer wants a say in products and service, the company can and should be encouraging this through social media. In fact SM can be the ultimate focus group. It sounds like they want a good CRM tool, again a good social media program does this. In most cases I will contact a company through their FB or twitter pages and get things fixed. Choice of contact points, again social media does this and can inform costumers of other methods, via website, mobile etc. Study sounds very skewed.

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