RightNow Study Finds Retailers Can Win Back Unhappy Customers through Social Media

When Consumers Received a Retailer Response to their Online Complaint, 34 Percent Deleted their Negative Review and One Third Reposted a Positive Review

BOZEMAN, Mont.--()--According to the Retail Consumer Report, commissioned by RightNow (NASDAQ:RNOW) and conducted by Harris Interactive, retailers are using social media channels to bring back dissatisfied customers. The research demonstrates that by listening and proactively responding to complaints on the social web, retailers have an opportunity to turn disgruntled customers into brand advocates.

The survey, conducted in January 2011 among consumers who shopped online during the most recent holiday season, explores modern-day consumers’ expectations and how retailers are using social media to recapture unhappy customers, as well as influence their buying decisions. Read the full results and view the industry infographic in the Retail Consumer Report.

Win Back Unhappy Customers via Social Media

The Retail Consumer Report found that 68 percent of consumers who posted a negative review on a social networking or ratings/reviews site after a poor holiday shopping experience got a response from the retailer. Of those, 18 percent turned around and became loyal customers and bought more.

Retailers are using social media to not only recapture dissatisfied customers, but also turn them into brand advocates. The survey found that retailers are converting unhappy customers into brand champions by listening and proactively responding to their complaints on the social web. Among consumers who did get a response from the retailer to their negative review, the survey determined:

  • 33 percent followed up and reposted a positive review; and
  • 34 percent deleted their original negative review.

However, consumers have low expectations that retailers will monitor and respond to their negative reviews. Among the third of consumers whose negative review did not get a response, the survey determined that 61 percent would be shocked if the retailer had responded to their negative comment on the social web.

“When consumers have a bad experience, they will not come back. And now, more than ever, unhappy consumers are turning to the social web to share their complaints. However, retailers have an opportunity to wow consumers by listening and effectively responding to their complaints on the social web. Retailers can bring back unhappy customers and turn them into brand advocates.” – Greg Gianforte, chief executive officer, RightNow

Great Customer Service Influences Purchasing Decisions

The Retail Consumer Report demonstrates that great experiences drive consumers’ buying decisions. A full half of consumers indicated that they were influenced to buy from a specific online retailer by great customer service or a previous positive experience with the retailer. After a positive shopping experience, 31 percent of consumers purchased more from the retailer.

Also according to the survey, consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by the brand advocacy of fellow consumers on the social web. 28 percent of consumers researched what customers wrote on social networking and reviews websites, while shopping online.

Happy Customers Became Brand Advocates

Among consumers that had a positive shopping experience with an online retailer:

  • 21 percent recommended the retailer to friends; and
  • 13 percent posted a positive online review about the retailer.

To support consumer brand advocacy, it is imperative that retailers ensure the information on their website is accurate and consistent. The survey found that 38 percent of consumers turned to the retailer’s website for information or support with online shopping. However, one of the top frustrations consumers had when shopping online was a lack of consistent information from retailers. Specifically, 22 percent of consumers were frustrated by information that was inconsistent between the retailer’s website and customer service agents.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of RightNow Technologies, Inc. from January 25-27, 2011 among 2,516 adults ages 18 and older, of whom, 1,605 shopped online during the most recent holiday season (defined as the period between Halloween and New Year’s). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit http://www.harrisinteractive.com.

About RightNow

RightNow is helping rid the world of bad experiences one consumer interaction at a time, eight million times a day. RightNow CX, the customer experience suite, helps organizations deliver exceptional customer experiences across the web, social networks and contact centers, all delivered via the cloud. With more than ten billion customer interactions delivered, RightNow is the customer experience fabric for nearly 2,000 organizations around the globe. To learn more about RightNow, go to www.rightnow.com.

RightNow is a registered trademark of RightNow Technologies, Inc. NASDAQ is a registered trademark of The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC.


RightNow Technologies
Chaundera Wolfe, 406-556-3323


RightNow Technologies
Chaundera Wolfe, 406-556-3323