Study: How social media sentiment affects your brand’s image

A recent study revealed that the majority of consumers avoid organizations that have negative online coverage. The results of a Harris Poll study on United’s brand image matches the trend.

A single customer mishap can quickly grow into a PR nightmare.

It can be severe, such as a man being dragged off a plane (United Airlines) or it can be relatively minor (Cracker Barrel and the tale of Brad’s wife). In either case, inaction—or action that is rude or dismissive—can allow the situation to boil over into a social media brouhaha.

The bottom line is this: Customer service matters more than ever, and new research from Corra proves it.

In the firm’s recent study, 88 percent of consumers said they have avoided an organization because of negative social media coverage. Nearly 90 percent of customers say they’re willing to give companies two chances to prove themselves before ultimately writing them off for good.

The study reveals which online platforms customers use to complain:

1. Amazon

2. Facebook (personal page)

3. Yelp

4. Twitter

5. Facebook (group or business page)

6. Reddit

7. TripAdvisor

8. Better Business Bureau

9. Google Maps/Businesses

10. YouTube

It also shows which industries have the worst customer service:

1. Cable companies

2. Cell phone providers

3. Airlines

4. Restaurants

5. Retail stores

6. Banks

7. Online stores

8. Hotels

How an organization handles PR crises and negative online buzz can greatly affect its reputation, as well.

A recent Harris Poll revealed that 42 percent of U.S. consumers said United had a “bad” or “very bad” reputation when surveyed April 17-18, compared to 7 percent in late 2016.

That same study revealed that Delta experienced little, if any, negative impact from its debacle this spring that saw 3,000 flights cancelled in a five-day stretch. The airline actually saw a year-over-year boost from 2016, with 46 percent this year saying Delta had a “good” or “very good” reputation, compared to 34 percent late last year.

Two other organizations that saw major PR disasters last year, Volkswagen and Wells Fargo, are starting to see signs of recovery, according to the Harris Poll.

Volkswagen’s reputation fell to an all-time low in November 2015 with only 16 percent of people saying it had a good or very good reputation. Last month, 40 percent said so. Wells Fargo, which fell to 13 percent late last year, was back up to 31 percent last month.

Check out additional data on customer service—including how to improve yours—in the results of Corra’s “Roasted Reputations” study.

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