The study found:
- Consumers not only want to talk to brands, they want to establish a conversation. 55% of consumers want an ongoing dialogue with brands.
- Learning about new products in the pipeline is a top priority. Respondents were most anxious to talk to the product design (49%) department, followed by customer support (14%), marketing (14%) and pricing (13%).
- Positive brand experiences can generate word-of-mouth buzz. More than 60% of those polled said they tell 10 or more people about the products they like while a third tell 20 or more people.
- Listening leads to loyalty. 89% of respondents would feel more loyal to brands which invited them to participate in a feedback group, and 92 percent of those who have a positive experience communicating with a brand will recommend purchasing a product from that brand to someone they know.
- Consumers are open to engaging with the competition. 93 percent of consumers surveyed would be interested or very interested in communicating with competitive brands that expressed interest in their feedback if their first choice is not interested in hearing what they have to say.
I know from my own experience with my iPhone and Kindle for example, that I'm more than happy to share my experiences with others and to recommend the products based on my good experiences. I really like being able to check forums for questions and reviews and I think more highly of those companies whose products I buy that provide them.
I think this is important for any business, or even people in the public eye, to know. People want the opportunity to interact and to share. I think that's one of the reasons why blogging is so popular. Making your brand hard to interact with makes people think you've got something to hide and makes them wary.
Opening up a discussion that allows people to share anything/everything about your brand can be a bit scary. I mean, what if someone says something "bad"? In the end, I think that an open dialogue is most important and if there is something "bad", it gives the brand owner a chance to respond and make corrections and have that be seen as well. I like hearing stories where a company "made it right" with a customer. It makes you believe there is a real concern about the consumer involved and it's not just a big machine cranking out product with the only goal being revenue generation. Revenue is certainly important, but if you treat your customers in a top-notch way, the revenue will come.