Growing influence of social media on consumer purchasing decisions

The 2011 RightNow New Zealand Customer Experience report released yesterday has found the overall number of New Zealand consumers who actively use social media (such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) has grown from 63 percent year ago to 70 percent today. Of those consumers who use social media sites, almost one in four (23 percent) report having made purchase because of social web discussion.

Brett Waters, RightNow’s vice president Asia Pacific – South, says it’s been amazing to watch not only the rapid adoption of social media in New Zealand, but also consumers’ desire to engage more directly with organisations on the social web.

“While good in-person service will always be important, the experiences that customers receive on the web or when conversing on social media are just as critical. Even more imperative are the interactions customers have with other customers.”

The 2011 RightNow Customer Experience survey was conducted in April 2011 by StollzNow Research with the support of customer relations technology services company RightNow ( It involved more than 300 New Zealand consumers aged between 18 and 65 years. The survey gauged consumer attitudes and experiences across the retail sector and six service industries, including telecommunications, ISPs, insurance, financial services, travel and hospitality, and utilities.

Going mobile
The survey found more than two thirds (70 percent) of respondents say they would be happy for organisations to contact them via social media with special offers and discounts. It also uncovered another emerging trend among New Zealanders: we are actively using mobile devices as tool to research and make purchases.

• 36 percent use mobile device to access the internet
• 37 percent use their devices to search for information on the companies they do business with
• 24 percent of mobile users report using their devices to make purchases (not including iTunes)

“With the use of mobile devices on the rise, the study suggests that companies need to begin planning to mobilise their customer support efforts or risk being left behind,” says Waters. He says New Zealand organisations face the difficult challenge of maintaining quality service across traditional communication channels while at the same time implementing strategies that embrace the strengths and flexibility of emerging channels such as mobile devices and social media.

Service standards improve 
The survey also found an average of 59 percent of New Zealanders ceased doing business with company due to poor service or poor customer experiences. This was down slightly from 61 percent in 2010 and may be an indication that in these tighter economic times, organisations are trying harder to deliver good service and retain their existing customers, says Waters. This is supported by dramatic increase in the number of organisations attempting to win back disaffected customers. In 2010, 26 percent of consumers said companies had tried to win back their lost business. In 2011 this jumped to 42 percent.

Click here for full copy of the report.


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