Retail Loyalty Program Members Get Negative on Social - eMarketer

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Retail Loyalty Program Members Get Negative on Social

Over nine in 10 social discussions about retailers' loyalty programs are negative

April 21, 2015

For retailers, negative buzz around social media is about more than just the products they sell or the attitudes of sales associates in-store—or shipping times for online merchants. Loyalty programs can be big contributors to negative brand chatter on social platforms, according to a December 2014 study by Capgemini. The research firm found that 93% of all social discussions of retailers’ loyalty programs were negative. That was even higher than the 88% negative share for airlines.

Leading Reasons that Social Media Users Worldwide Express Negative Sentiment Toward Loyalty Programs, Dec 2014 (% of social media conversations analyzed)

Nearly half of this negative chatter was because loyalty programs weren’t relevant, flexible or valuable enough to the social media users involved. One-third of conversations were complaints about the lack of a multichannel rewards experience, such as failure to credit online purchases for the proper rewards. And 17% reported customer service issues associated with the loyalty programs.

As part of its report, Capgemini also analyzed 160 loyalty programs and found that only 24% allowed members to redeem rewards via mobile apps. Only 9% of programs analyzed provided for rewards redemption on websites, in stores and on mobile apps.

For the most part, users aren’t flocking to social platforms just to complain about brands. Worldwide research from GlobalWebIndex in Q3 2014 found that just 11% of Twitter users had tweeted negative comments about brands, and 13% of Facebook users had posted negative comments about brands. In both cases, these were the least common activities users conducted on the respective platforms.

But when users do complain, they expect to be heard. M2Talk found in November 2014 that US internet users expected responses to customer service issues reported on social media to be rapid: 53.7% wanted a response in an hour or less.

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