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Are You Ignoring Your Best Retail Customers Through Social Media?


retail, marketing, shoppertrak, people countingWe’ve all heard of the adage that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Those who shout loudest and express their needs will be more likely to get a response than those who do not. This is precisely what is happening in the realm of social media as more customers are bypassing the traditional route of the customer service desk and using social media channels to air their complaints. As companies navigate these social media waters – sometimes through trial and error – they are trying to determine the most effective way to bring resolution.

Although it’s critical that retailers address customers’ concerns in a timely and relevant manner, it’s just as important they understand there is a group of customers that often gets overlooked. These customers aren’t complaining, but rather tweeting or posting a company’s praise because of a good experience or special sentiment they feel toward a brand. Since these tweets and posts are often overlooked and even ignored by companies, retailers are possibly missing out on a prime opportunity.

Erik Qualman reveals this missed opportunity in his book, Socialnomics, by showing how companies primarily wrap their social media strategy around the success ratio of their response to negative tweets while ignoring the positive ones. Traditionally, the emphasis of customer service has been placed on fixing the problems of the “vocal negative minority.” Even an employee’s job performance can be tied to how well they handle disgruntled customers, not the ones who are already happy. Who can blame them when a study revealed that 42% of customers who complain through social media expected a response within 60 minutes?

Yet, in light of this, it’s important to remember that it’s six to seven times more costly to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one. It may be time for companies to re-examine their social media strategy by placing more emphasis on encouraging those who already love them – especially when dormant communication between a brand and its customers can yield an attrition rate of 50 percent over five years. Losing almost half of your customers because of relative silence is a high cost to pay.

Qualman suggests there is great opportunity in interacting with your customers by publicly showing them “digitally” that you care. Yes, retailers need to communicate in a timely and relevant manner to all of their customers’ cares and concerns expressed through social media. However, by incorporating a social media strategy that also acknowledges and personally responds to the positive tweets and posts of happy customers can have a lasting impact. Not only will it significantly improve brand loyalty, but it contributes to the ripple effect that social media has through positive word-of-mouth.

As retailers enter a new era of customer service defined by tweets and posts, they must determine the most effective practices that will keep existing customers happy and bring new ones through their doors. ShopperTrak provides people counting technology that gives retailers the required insights to ensure that social media strategies are achieving their intended goal of increased foot traffic and conversions.


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