retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The folks at COLLOQUY, who take the world of loyalty marketing very seriously, are out with a study that qualifies and quantifies something that many marketers probably have a sense is true - that angry customers are far more likely to talk about their bad product and shopping experiences than they are to share stories about satisfying experiences.

According to the study, “Of 3,295 U.S. consumers surveyed by COLLOQUY, slightly more than one out of every four (26%) said they are far more likely to spread the word to family, friends and coworkers about a bad experience with a product or service than a good one ... In a survey finding of equal significance, even among consumers who are most loyal to, engaged with and willing to recommend brands they like - a group COLLOQUY calls WOM Champions - 31% said they are far more likely to share information about a bad experience with a product or service than a good one.

“Among key demographic groups, Affluent consumers, at 30%, scored highest for saying they're far more likely to spread a bad experience. Seniors scored the lowest at 19%. In the other demographics, 25% of Young Adults and 25% of Women said they're far more likely to share a bad experience. Hispanics' score was 21%.”

COLLOQUY has come up with a term for these consumers who are dissatisfied and more than willing to share it - “Madvocates.” And, the simple reality is that in today’s information-driven and technology-savvy consumer environment, “madvocates” have both a larger megaphone and an increasing willingness to use it.

To their credit, COLLOQUY’s analysts also have come up with suggestions for how to convert “madvocates” to “advocates.”

Among them:

“Make sure customers not only have an opportunity for a dialogue (not a monologue) with the brand, but with each other ... Get the conversations started by asking for opinions and insights, and recognize contributions.”

“Involve customers in WOM programs by forming online social sharing communities, panels and co-development platforms. Do your own social media.”

“Be innovative and make sure content is relevant, fresh and rewarding. Start by transforming your marketing mindset from ‘incentive’ to ‘service.’ Be sure to nip any service problems in the bud and head off any negative WOM that can quickly go viral from these well-connected customers.”

All excellent observations, and very good advice ... not to mention an Eye-Opener for marketers not paying attention to the “madvocate” revolution.
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