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Loyalty and Appreciation: Social Media and the Consumer Journey

Today’s connected consumers look to social media as a way to interact with and promote their favourite brands. According to Kitewheel’s study, nearly 60 per cent of consumers use social media to make comments about their brand experiences – but brands are struggling to integrate these social channels into consumer interactions.

Consumer insights drawn from the study describe the backlash that is brewing by brands’ inability to keep up. A majority of consumers expect a response on social media within 24 hours of tweeting directly to a business, but 45 per cent of marketing executives say that it’s unlikely a brand can afford to respond to every customer’s social media opportunity. Oftentimes consumers feel the only way to get a quick response from a company is to complain on a social network, and this can result in consumers opting out, causing loyalty to waiver. “Brands need to listen proactively,” says Kitewheel.

Non-generic responses over social media are also important. “Consumers seek a unique brand experience,” says the study. A mixture of automation and human response is necessary to connect with highly connected and mobile consumers appropriately. 34 per cent of marketing executives are currently developing the ability to automatically detect and reply to consumers on social media.

If a company provides a positive experience, customers will share their excitement with their network over social media channels – driving traffic to your brand. By implementing that two-way communication seamlessly across all communications channels, consumers will feel connected and appreciated.

Loyalty & Appreciation: Reaching the Connected Consumer

It is no secret that technology is reshaping the landscape of human interaction. In Kitewheel’s recent study, authors point out that brands must find ways to integrate both digital and traditional channels and touch points in order to reach today’s connected consumer.

According to Kitewheel, the majority of consumers expect an all-around seamless customer experience to be delivered by brands. Digital efforts should enhance outcomes across traditional channels, and vice versa. This seamlessness points to a brand’s ability to craft and provide positive consumer experiences, no matter what the platform.

The study shows that 54 percent of consumers expect that their experience will be seamless across digital and physical touch points, and their loyalty wavers when brands are unconnected.

“Brands are hamstrung by countless touch points, and different technologies, most of which were never designed to work together,” the study states, “They are challenged to find a way to easily connect all of these individually complex components.”

By striking a balance and creating a consistent experience from traditional to digital platforms, companies can capitalize on the opportunity to extend their reach. 43 percent of consumers in the study said they use multiple devices simultaneously while making a single purchase online – this is critical to note in reaching today’s connected consumer.

As mentioned in the study – loyalty is fickle. If consumers can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’ll move to another company. This reinforces the importance of providing a positive customer experience, no matter what the platform.

This Month in Customer Appreciation and Loyalty Marketing – November 2014

In our latest edition of our loyalty and appreciation series, we bring you some of November’s most talked-about stories:

Extra: Have you seen our other blog series? It’s based on the Kitewheel study: The State of the Customer Journey. Check out the first post in the series ‘Loyalty and Appreciation: Using Mobile to Bridge the Gap’ here.

What other stories in the loyalty industry had you talking this past month? Let us know on Twitter at @eTrove!