Word-of-mouth marketing is nothing new. Shoppers have always sought recommendations or validation before taking the plunge and spending their hard-earned money. The only thing that's changed over time is how easy it's become for us to share product or brand feedback, and how accessible that feedback has become to us as shoppers.
But perhaps most important for brands to know is how actively we as shoppers seek out customer ratings, reviews, and other user-generated content (UGC) — and how much this authentic content affects our decisions to click "Place Order."
"Meeting the Demands of the Modern Customer: A Deep Dive Into The Importance of Social Influence," a new Emplifi report based on a study of over 2,000 US and UK consumers conducted in collaboration with Harris Interactive, dives deeper into the role of customer ratings, reviews, and UGC in modern consumers' purchasing behaviors. The key takeaway? Shoppers increasingly seek authentic content from other like-minded customers to help them take that next step in their customer journey.
Let's dive into three of the many eye-opening findings from the study, and be sure to download "Meeting the Demands of the Modern Customer: A Deep Dive Into The Importance of Social Influence" today!
71% say “authentic” positive user reviews make a real difference in their purchase decisions
With shoppers being bombarded with thousands of ads daily, they often just want a way to break through the noise at key times in their journey. Especially in times of economic uncertainty, we want reassurance that our money is well-spent, especially with a brand or product with which we're familiar. Retail returns are estimated to surpass $600B in 2023 in the US alone. Any way brands can limit this — while ensuring amazing CX — is a win-win.
Most consumers surveyed (87%) said that user reviews are the most authentic interaction they have with brands. And when that reassurance comes in the form of an authentic positive user rating or review, nearly three in four shoppers (71%) feel that can move the needle for them to take the leap and make a purchase.
By making these authentic positive user ratings and reviews easily accessible to shoppers when researching or buying, brands can give shoppers what they're looking for in one place without leaving their shopping experience — and potentially drive more conversions.
54% actively seek out product pictures and videos from real people before buying
A picture is worth a thousand words, and the impact of those words is often even more powerful coming from customers who are just like us.
There is no lack of user-generated content (UGC) out there for shoppers to find, from unboxings to product review videos or pictures. With over half of the consumers surveyed stating that they at least regularly seek out product pictures and videos from real-life customers during their buying process, it's never been a better time for brands to reap the rewards of their customer feedback. Especially, to leverage it at key times during the shopping experience.
Thankfully, there are tools to help them more easily identify and obtain permission for social user-generated content to put that plan into action.
48% say that an agent who "talks to you in your language" best demonstrates authenticity in customer service
Authenticity isn't just critical during the product research and buying phases. It also plays a crucial role during post-purchase experiences, with 75% of consumers saying that "authentic" customer care experiences are essential to them.
So, what exactly could be considered an "authentic" customer service or support experience?
We know that customer service and empathy go hand-in-hand. The same could be said for empathy and authenticity. In the eyes of almost half of the consumers surveyed, a customer care agent who uses similar language and jargon that the consumer uses goes a long way towards delivering the authentic experiences consumers seek.
At the end of the day, the best customer service experiences start and end with your agents. Giving them the right tools and continuous training around the latest best practices and product details is essential to give them the confidence to "talk to your customers in their language" and meet their ever-growing CX expectations.
Want to learn more about the power of authentic content on your customers’ purchase decisions? Read our press release, and be sure to download “Meeting the Demands of the Modern Customer: A Deep Dive Into The Importance of Social Influence" today!