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New Study Indicates Consumers Use Social Media to Share Customer Care Experiences and Research Companies’ Customer Service Reputations

Landmark Study Links Consumers’ Brand Loyalty to Customer Care

Palo Alto, Calif. – April 22, 2008 - As social media usage becomes more ubiquitous, affluent consumers are using social media channels to share their personal customer service experiences and learn about others’ care experiences when making purchase decisions. This is among the initial findings of a new Society for New Communications Research study, “Exploring the Link Between Customer Care and Brand Reputation in the Age of Social Media,” which will be presented at the SNCR’s New Communications Forum in Sonoma County, Calif. later this week.

More than 300 consumers who are active Internet users participated in a survey focusing on how customer care influences brand reputation given the widespread adoption of social media. Top findings include:

  • 59.1% of respondents use social media to “vent” about a customer care experience
  • 72.2% of respondents research companies’ customer care online prior to purchasing products and services at least sometimes
  • 84% of respondents consider the quality of customer care at least sometimes in their decision to do business with a company
  • 74% choose companies/brands based on others’ customer care experiences shared online
  • 84% of respondents consider the quality of customer care in their decision to do business with a company at least sometimes
  • 81% believe that blogs, online rating systems and discussion forums can give consumers a greater voice regarding customer care, but less than 33% believe that businesses take customers’ opinions seriously
  • Search engines are the most valuable online tools for this research, according to respondents. Those rated of no value include micro-blogging sites like Twitter or Pownce (39%), YouTube (27%) and social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace (22%)

Dell and Amazon were cited more often than any other company when asked which types of companies have done the best job in using social media to respond to customer care issues. In terms of industry segments, technology, retail, and travel companies were reported as doing the best job, while utilities, health care, and insurance were least likely to receive positive endorsements.

“This study indicates that there is a growing group of highly desirable consumers using social media to research companies: 25- to 55-years old, college-educated, earning $100,000+ – a very powerful group in terms of buying behavior,” said Dr. Ganim Nora Barnes, senior fellow, Society for New Communications Research. “These most savvy and sought after consumers will not support companies with poor customer care reputations, and they will talk about all of this openly with others via multiple online vehicles. This research should serve as a wake-up call to companies: listen, respond, and improve.”

“With consumers increasingly using social media to share feedback on their care experiences, it has become increasingly difficult for businesses to ignore or hide from bad experiences,” said Lynda Kate Smith, vice president, Care Business, Nuance Enterprise Division. “Our mission is to help organizations better support, communicate with, and understand their customers during customer care interactions. As this research highlights, the consumer’s voice is louder and travels further than ever before. One poor customer interaction can have a very significant impact on a public impression of a brand.”

The team of SNCR research fellows who conducted the study included Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, John Cass, Susan Getgood, Paul Gillin, and Francois Gossieaux, working in conjunction with TWI Surveys, Inc. The final results will be highlighted in the Society’s Journal of New Communications Research and published in a full report later this year. The research was sponsored by Nuance Communications.

About Nuance Care Solutions

Nuance Care Solutions help companies better support, communicate with and understand their customers. It does this through a set of Interaction Solutions including Inbound Messaging, Outbound Messaging, Analytics and Productivity. These solutions help drive an improved customer experience, better business performance, and increased employee productivity. For more information, please visit

About Nuance Communications

Nuance is a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with information and how they create, share and use documents. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance’s proven applications and professional services. For more information, please visit

About the Society for New Communications Research

The Society for New Communications Research is a global nonprofit 501(c)(3) think tank dedicated to the advanced study of new communications tools, technologies and emerging modes of communication, and their effect on traditional media, professional communications, business, culture and society. The Society’s Fellows include more than 40 futurists, scholars, business leaders, professional communicators, members of the media and technologists from around the globe. In addition, the Society’s members include a Vendor Council with representatives from more than a dozen leading technology companies and Organizational Affiliates comprising industry associations, research organizations and other leading think tanks. For more information about the Society for New Communications Research, visit or call +1 (650) 331-0083.