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Monday, March 17, 2014

Do Satisfied Customers Still Tell Others They Love Your Brand?

Social media has given consumers greater opportunity to talk about the brands they know and love. That means brand advocacy must be skyrocketing, right?

Maybe not. Mindshare World has tracked advocacy-behavior through annual research in which they ask consumers’ agreement with the following statement, “When I see or hear something interesting about a brand, I like to pass it on”.  Their most recent findings serve as a harsh reminder that we can’t necessarily count on the continual growth of frequent and positive word of mouth to drive the growth of our businesses.  One might think that technology should be facilitating advocacy-behavior, but apparently more than just ample online vehicles (for posting) is needed to keep word of mouth healthy.   The trend of advocacy behavior is clearly downward:

  • In 2010 66% agreed they would “pass it on”
  • In 2011 62%
  • In 2012 53%
  • In 2013 only 47% agreed they would “pass it on”.

And, It Might Be Worse Than It Appears!

Think 47% still seems pretty good? Let’s take a closer look. Unless we’re missing something, the study really shouldn’t be interpreted as suggesting that 47% of consumers are currently actively advocating brands – or anything close. What the researcher’s question really seems to ask is: if a brand managed to get something before an individual and the individual considered it “interesting”,  would they then “like to” pass it on?  Do you see the tenuous connections here?   Knowing how many messages are thrown at each one of us every day, there’s a considerable challenge to be met to get any recommendations!

And, a separate recent study from EngageSciences (telling us that fewer than 5% of a brand’s fans generate all of the social media referrals for any brand), further suggests that in the real world there is undoubtedly a huge gap between those who say they would “like to pass it on”, and those who actually take any action!

So, What Does This All Mean?

It‘s clear that it’s going to take new strategies and additional executional effort to maintain (let alone to increase) the frequency, volume, and positive tone of word of mouth for your brand in the future.  Delivering good value for the money and a positive overall customer experience will continue to be essential, but even they won’t nearly be enough.

Success in engendering word of mouth will be dependent upon:

  1. Identifying the best potential advocates (those current customers who have proven behavioral commitment to a brand, have an emotional connection with the brand and, possess the 'communicator gene').  And,
  2. Providing each of them with the necessary motivation, content, and opportunity that will prepare those potential advocates to pass along their own versions of the brand’s story, both online and offline, to friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives, and even strangers



11:23 am edt          Comments

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