A new annual report from RightNow contains several critical findings that every brand needs to know about. Of particular interest to marketers (and us) are the results relating to word of mouth. Let’s dig in.

Why they tell others about bad experiences

Companies already know that customers will share their bad experiences with others (as does 79% of the population). But do they know why they do it?

  • 85% wanted to warn others about the pitfalls of doing business with that company
  • 66% wanted to discourage others from buying from that company
  • 55% wanted to vent anger or disappointment
  • 24% wanted to see if the company would take action to resolve their issue

If companies can anticipate the different reasons people might speak negatively about them, they can respond more appropriately and efficiently to each instance of negative WoM.

"Choose Wisely," by Flickr user ladyvee9

Why they’ll choose you (or won’t)

What they hear about you through word of mouth is still the biggest factor in whether or not they’ll give you their business, according to 76% of the consumers polled.  Forty-nine percent felt that customer reviews and online feedback were most important in their decision-making, while 41% percent base their choice on product review websites. Magazine articles are most important to 23% of consumers, and a company’s reputation in the social media space (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) is most important to 7% of respondents.

Why they’ll spend more on you

Treat them well! RightNow found that 66% of consumers think that companies that focus on delivering superior customer service will have more spent on their products and services.  If you want to have more spent on you, you can’t go wrong by offering up the right information in the right places, and being there when someone has a question, according to 61% of consumers. Twenty-three percent of consumers think a better fit—a “tailored shopping experience”—makes people spend more.

What you should do when they get “anti-social” on your brand

Don't make me! (Flickr photo credit: Anne Helmond)
(Flickr photo credit: Anne Helmond)

Ignore negative comments, and you’ll lose that customer for good. When posting something critical to Facebook or Twitter, 58% of consumers want you to respond. Don’t wait to do it, either:

  • 42% expect a response within a day
  • 39% within a week
  • 7% within an hour
  • 2% within a minute

What they expect, however, is far from what they receive. Just 22% heard back from the brand after they voiced their frustrations via social media.

You can learn more from the full report, Customer Experience Impact: North America 2010.

Expect more BazaarBriefs on reports and research we find interesting. If you find research you think our readers will find useful, send it our way! Leave a link in our comments, or tweet us at @Bazaarvoice.

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