The research, commissioned by communication expert Pitney Bowes with the aim of providing SMEs with insight into which customer interaction methods encourage repeat purchases, reveals that social media inspires loyalty in less than twenty per cent of customers, rising to 25 per cent for larger businesses.
The findings revealed that customers are more likely to stay loyal and purchase again from small companies that offer them concrete customer service initiatives and communication management rather than social media interaction. Nearly half said they wanted an easy and effective way to contact the company, with a similar number saying that home delivery would secure their business.
Other key responses were: A say in ranges of products and services at 45 per cent and Control over method and frequency of received communication at 44 per cent.
The results highlight the importance of establishing the basics before moving on to techniques that deepen customer involvement and move towards a social relationship. Smaller businesses that lead with these techniques and do not listen to their customers will find they are out of step with their thinking. For SMEs, this can mean the difference between success and failure.
Phil Hutchison, Pitney Bowes Tactical Marketing Director at Pitney Bowes says, “There is no doubt that social media can be an effective tool for small companies, it’s just a question of priority.
Used in isolation, with a lack of understanding and given greater precedence over customer service initiatives designed to make interaction more convenient, it can come across as inconsequential and extravagant, so investment needs to be justified. What we’re urging SMEs to do with this research is ‘get the basics right’, and then create a buzz.”