In 2020, a Trustpilot and Canvas8 study found that global trust had recently declined by 11%. And given how much the world has been through in the last year, it’s safe to say that customers are more skeptical and unsure of who to do business with. With that in mind, a trusted brand is one of the most valuable assets a business can have.
How consumers perceive your brand matters a lot, and how they talk about your brand both online and offline can alter your brand’s image and directly affect your reputation. That’s why brands are publicly engaging their customers in conversation more than ever before.
To better understand the state of conversational intelligence in 2021, Trustpilot partnered with Talkwalker to survey over 1,000 industry professionals. The resulting State of Conversations Report found that 82% believe that the pandemic has changed their understanding of consumer conversation.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the importance of conversational intelligence, and why it could be the best way for your brand to stand out from the competition as we continue to move to a more customer-centric world.
Why are consumer conversations so critical in 2021?
1. Consumers could be talking about your brand without you even knowing it
It’s no secret that today’s shoppers do their research before buying online. And with the power of the internet available to all consumers out there, review platforms and social media have truly become a crucial part of the buying experience for so many consumers out there.
In the State of Conversation Report, we found that 18% of industry professionals admitted their organization only analyzes and monitors conversations through a unified platform. By doing that, brands could be missing a huge opportunity.
The same report also found that social media and review websites are currently the top two channels where brands interact with consumers and customers.
If you’re not already conversing on these channels, consumers could be talking about your brand without you knowing it – and in 2021, brands simply can not afford to miss out on consumer conversation.
2. Shoppers expect brands like yours to engage with them
In a world of viral marketing and social influence, consumer conversations really have the power to make or break businesses. If you’re willing to take time out of your day to engage with a brand online, it’s likely because you’ve had an unsatisfactory experience.
A Review Trackers study found that a consumer is 21% more likely to leave feedback after a negative experience than a positive one. And in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have turned up the volume: they're telling brands what they need and expect, and brands who do not adapt will inevitably get left behind.
In 2019, a Trustpilot consumer survey highlighted that 88% of global consumers engage in consumer conversations with brands in order to fix an issue they might have encountered during their journey, and 61% expect a company to publicly comment on their feedback.
That same Trustpilot study showed that more than 2 in 3 people who were unsatisfied with a company’s engagement admitted they wouldn’t shop with that establishment again, and half would warn others to stay away from the company too. But more than half of customers who felt their comment had been responded to appropriately said they would shop with the brand again.
For 25% of people, how well companies respond to criticism can even help transition them from detractors to customer advocates.
As the face of retail continues to evolve and customer service continues to be a key differentiator, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever before.
Shoppers aren’t just leaving online feedback for the company to see, they expect brands to respond and engage with them.
3. Consumer insights can help your business identify areas of development
Today, a successful customer experience strategy should be enjoyable from the customer’s point of view while also leading to sales. Building great customer experiences means investing in your own customers, and making sure their journey is seamless, from the top of the funnel to checkout.
That’s why understanding your consumers' needs and wants has become key to any company’s success. In a world where consumers are looking for more than just products and services, the most successful brands out there must be able to create customer-centric experiences by engaging and listening to customers in order to collect actionable insights, and identify gaps and areas of development.
The recent Talkwalker survey found that 50% of people surveyed admitted that access to insights from consumer conversations are currently still limited to a specific department within their organization.
Every brand should consider sharing insights from consumer and customer conversations with the rest of the business, as recommended actions can truly amplify the company’s performance and growth.
When shared with the right teams, consumer insights can help identify areas of the business which could be improved in order to convert more, improve customer satisfaction, and boost retention.
Why every brand should invest in consumer conversations
From social media platforms to online reviews, consumer and customer conversations are happening everywhere, whether you’re engaging in them or not.
Speaking and listening to consumers can help any brand build trust, protect their reputation and improve the quality of customer experiences they deliver. Doing all of the above thanks to consumer conversations can help ensure a business truly is future-proof.
Any brands who do not engage with their consumers and customers to learn, improve and innovate could get left behind.
Why risk it?
Find out how you can make the most of conversational intelligence – download Talkwalker’s brand new report below: