The Data Digest: Brands Cannot Ignore Offline Conversations

Social media has given consumers a voice, and brands are extremely concerned about how detrimental a bad review can be once it is posted online. But while this has taken the spotlight and has become an important, top-of-mind issue on marketing teams, it’s vital not to ignore the simple word-of-mouth review. Our Technographics® research shows that almost half of all consumers have complained directly to a family member or friend versus the mere 3% who have posted on a web site like Yelp/Trip advisor, or the 1% who have tweeted their complaints.


Listening software has made it easy for organizations to understand the latitude of negative feelings about their companies and brands and has given them some tools to directly address a complaint online by responding to an individual. It is nearly impossible to harness the conversations going on offline among groups of friends, although the numbers show that the effects of these talks are more widespread than the ones online — especially when you take into account that research shows that consumers trust friends and family most when making decisions.

There’s only one way to influence the offline discussions for companies and that is to constantly over-perform on the quality of a product or service and the customer experience. Focusing on the quality of the product will eliminate the bad review in the first place, while strong voice of the customer programs will hopefully make the consumer more “forgiving.”

Comments

Thank you for this great

Thank you for this great reminder that there is still life offline! I completely agree that business need to be giving excellent customer service and selling quality products in order to get great word of mouth referrals. I would take it a step further and say that companies also need to take their dialogues with customers offline. I recently read a blog by Mike Pedersen that highlighted the importance of mailing thank you cards to customers and reminding them of the great experience they had with their business. My company, One Step Services, specializes in custom mailings. Once a business provides the service, they need to remind customers of that service both online and offline in order to get the referral.