Tealeaf provides online customer experience management (CEM). Their CEM solutions include both a customer behavior analysis suite and customer service optimization suite. I have written about them before on this blog (see: Tealeaf Brings Visibility to Online Customer Experiences). They also sponsor an annual Online Consumer Survey. The 2009 survey has some interesting results.
What struck me most is that consumers are increasingly likely to share their experiences and opinions about companies, rather than with them. They are using social media to do this. The rise of twitter is one vehicle but there are many others that have been around for a while such as blogs and forums.
Here is the data: 26% of online adults who experience problems conducting online transactions posted complaints on a company’s Website in 2009, down from 32% in 2008. At the same time 38% of all online adults contacted a company’s call center after encountering problems using the Website in 2009, down from 47% in 2008. In contrast 12% of online adults who encountered issues said they shared those experiences via blogs or social networks, twice as many as in 2008.
This 12% may seem like a small number but the survey also reveals that these shared experiences are highly influential and should therefore be a real business concern. More than half (54%) of all online adults said social media content has influenced their online transactions, with 82% of respondents said social media has influenced their choice of vendor.
The survey goes on to say that online adults whose transactions have been influenced by social media content actually respond to positive reviews (26%) more so than negative ones (21%). So it pays to create good reviews and opinions about your products online.
This all has a major business impact since in it is estimated that in 2009, $47.6 billion will potentially be impacted by online transaction problems, on U.S. shopping websites alone. This impact comes in various forms. For example, 51% of consumers would not buy from the same brand if they had a problem online with them. Most of us experience some problem although this is slightly improving. The 2009 survey reported 80% of adults have had a problem shopping or getting services online but this is down from 87% the year before.
The Web may be the new frontier of business but results like these reminds u of both the current impact, the potential, the long way we have to go to reach a more mature market, and the need for companies to participate to survive and prosper.