Dell-commissioned study reveals companies that listen realize business results

ROUND ROCK, Texas ― Companies that launch listening and digital engagement initiatives are rewarded with improved customer satisfaction scores, loyalty and brand metrics, according to a Dell-commissioned research study conducted by Forrester Consulting.

Results of the July 2011 study “Listening and Engaging in the Digital Marketing Age” on the state of social media in U.S. firms was released today. Forrester surveyed 200 medium and large U.S.-based marketers across three key industries, including high tech, media/entertainment and utility and banking services.

Forrester’s study revealed that while more than three-quarters of the companies surveyed monitor online conversations and respond to customer feedback through social media, only 20 percent of the survey respondents place social media at the core of their marketing plans.

Technology companies lead in integrating social media programs throughout their organizations at nearly double the rate of media and one and a half times the rate of utility and banking service organizations. Nearly all the companies surveyed have specific plans to increase their social media investments, with 73 percent planning to add employees focused on listening and engagement initiatives in the coming year.

While making strong progress, businesses are still lagging behind their customers, 80 percent of whom use social media:

  • 50 percent of companies surveyed say their social media efforts are serious but not a core function
  • 16 percent reward customers whose ideas they use
  • Only 6 percent claim that their companies’ listening and engagement initiatives are very integrated

But companies’ investment in listening is on the rise and the benefits are tangible:

  • 64 percent of respondents are incorporating customer feedback into products or services
  • 76 percent distribute customer feedback internally
  • 31 percent are enhancing sales by offering incentive programs for customers who engage online, including deals and discounts