12 digital and social media case studies that prove Customer Service ROI 18

Posted on December 12, 2011 by Rob Petersen



Digital and social media are held to highly accountable standards when it comes to return on investment (ROI). For the last two years, Social Media Examiner reports the #1 question marketers ask about social media is “How do I measure social media return on investment?”

On this blog, we’ve highlighted over 100 case studies (see related posts at the bottom) and believe digital and social media demonstrate the proven principles of relationship marketing better than any other communication channel, particularly when it comes to customer service.

If there are people in your company who still need convincing, here are 12 digital and social media case studies that prove Customer Service ROI.

1. ACCOR: has over 4000 hotels in 90 countries and has to manage over 5000 comments each month on sites such as and The company wants to listen, learn and engage with what customers are saying about the Accor brand and approximately 12,000 competitors’ hotels so it can then establish dashboards to act on the data. Accor has found this type of customer service not only improves the company’s online reputation, it results in double-digit sales increases for key brands like Novotel.

2. ALASKA AIR: Is the first carrier in the world to let customers check-in from the internet and at self-service kiosks. Traditionally, weather delays and cancellation cause airlines to pull agents off inbound sales calls and handle affected customers. The result is many customers are not handled effectively or in time plus new bookings are lost. The internet provided a more time sensitive way to personally handle affected passengers without tying up sales staff. The result: Revenue and ROI increased because each customer costs 54 cents to re-ticket over the internet versus $1.60 on a live call; live agents can handle only 500 calls/hour while their web site can handle 20,000 calls/hour; just as important, not one negative comment occurred when the company made this switch.

3. AT&T: Has over 1.6 million fans on their Facebook page and a staff of 20 to engage, manage conversations and, when appropriate, encourage sales. The company trains and educates this team. Surveys show AT&T’s Facebook staff gets some of their best customer service ratings while also delivering some of the company’s highest sales per employees.

4. BEST BUY (Twelp Force): Gives employees the opportunity to help consumers on Twitter. Participation is voluntary and the community grows to 2,200 employees within 3 months. They respond to over 13,000 customers on Twitter answering questions, concerns, and opinions. The Twitter feed @twelpforce now counts over 40,000 followers and the number of questions averages 100-125 per day. It is considered a key value-add by customers and the company.

5. CARE ONE DEBT RELIEF SERVICES: Opens an online community on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in 2009 to help consumers with questions about debt relief, consolidation and budgeting. By going directly to social networks, there is no registration process and the company’s staff is able to give them a faster response. Lead generation is 179% higher, forms are completed 6X faster, customers make their first payment at a rate that was 7X better than non-social media customers.

6. COMCAST: Much has been written about @ComcastCares and the way Frank Eliason helped the company better handle the 3 million customer service calls (most unhappy) the company gets each year through blogs and Twitter with 3 simple words: Can I help? The company reviews 6000 blog posts and about 2000 Tweets each day to service more customers in a better and faster way than traditional inbound service. Here’s Frank explaining just what Comcast did.

7. DIRECTV: Has problems with churn among its 18.5 U.S. customers as more cable service develop a presence in satellite-based television. The best way to reduce churn is to increase customer satisfaction and one way to do it is optimize field technician routes for the 600,000 service calls received each day. DIRECTV implements Oracle GoldenGate to consolidate disparate data marts into a central warehouse. This improves the timeliness, granularity, and accuracy of customer and service data. It enables managers and more than 15,000 call center agents to conduct real-time data queries and analysis throughout the day—using dashboards, e-mail delivery, and end-user reporting tools—eliminating the reliance on outdated weekly or monthly reports.

8. FORD: The way we buy cars is changing. A 2011 survey of 2,485 consumers found that 28% visit websites five times or more during their car-buying process but only 11% visit dealerships that many times. Ford, in the UK, designs a multi-channel contact and lead management system based on its intelligentContact (iContact) platform. It manages every customer contact and increases agent efficiency by 25%. Where some calls used to take a minute to answer, now they are answered within 20 seconds.

9. H&R BLOCK: Tax preparation is a highly seasonal business.  H&R uses Facebook and Twitter to provide immediate access to a tax professional for Q&A in the “Get It Right” social media campaign.  The effort secures 1,500,000 unique visitors and answers 1,000,000 questions for a 15% lift in business versus the prior year when there was no social media “Get It Right” program. Here’s how Amy Worley explains how the company got it right.

10. LENOVA: Sees customers are talking about its products in third-party forums and is worried about being left out of these important conversations. Using a peer-to-peer support community in social media, Lenovo listens to customer experiences and establishes ownership of any problem. The results: 20% reduction in laptop support call rates, an increase in agent productivity, a shortened problem resolution cycle, and an increase in Net Promoter Scores…plus ideas from the community result in new product innovations.

11. MACY’S: Handles 130 orders every minute online from over 1,000,000 unique visitors every day. and link production to online orders and give access to 100 employees to optimize customer flow. For the first time, Macy’s experiences no downtime during holiday peak period and increases online sales +40% for December and 29% for the year.

12. SETON HALL UNIVERSITY: relies on tuition for revenue. They discover incoming freshmen are forming lasting impressions about colleges by reading a university’s Facebook page before they go to university’s website. Seton Hall gets actively involved in Facebook conversations to answers questions, participate in discussions and guide potential incoming freshmen. They tag the web traffic coming from Facebook to the website. Tuitions coming from Facebook are +18% and deposits are +25% than those who do not consult Facebook.

We’ve produced results like these for our client and have case studies of our own to share on the website. We’re proud of the results and ROI achieved and the demonstration these business principles work. We’d be glad to share what we see working so effectively in the marketplace for your brand.

Do these digital and social media case studies prove Customer Service ROI to you?

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12 case studies that prove Social Commerce

12 charts to explain the sales benefits of Social Commerce to your boss 0

Posted on October 27, 2011 by Rob Petersen

Social commerce is the merger of social media and ecommerce.

It aligns human behaviors with buying behaviors because:

  • 90% of all purchase decisions begin online
  • 75% of consumers shop online before they buy offline
  • 85% are looking for an independent review
  • 78% of people trust the recommendations of other people
  • They have an average of 130 friends on social networks
  • 14% of people trust advertising
    Only 18% of TV advertising campaign ever achieve a positive return on investment
But at your company or organization, people might require more to to be convinced. So here are 12 charts to explain the sales benefits of Social Commerce to your boss.

1. INTEREST IN SOCIAL MEDIA CONTINUES TO DOUBLE EACH YEAR: The number of people who search “social media,” either those exact words or those words in a phrase, continues to climb.

2.ALMOST 1/2 OF EACH HOUR WE NOW SPEND ON THE INTERNET IS ON SOCIAL NETWORKS. Doesn’t it make sense we’d rather buy there than log-off and then log back on?


4. #1 REASON PEOPLE “LIKE” A BRAND ON FACEBOOK IS TO RECEIVE DISCOUNT AND PROMOTIONS. #2 is to show their support for the brand. Just like any relationship, this say if you show me some love, I’ll “like” you back.


6. 41% OF PEOPLE WHO USE LINKEDIN SAY THEY’VE GENERATED BUSINESS FROM IT. That’s in addition to those who use it to look for jobs and for recruitment.

7. SOCIAL COMMERCE IS PREDICTED TO GROW ABOUT 50% A YEAR FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT THREE YEAR. Sales will total $30 billion ($14 billion in the U.S.) – Source: Booz & Company

8. BY ABOUT THAT TIME, MORE PEOPLE WILL ACCESS THE INTERNET FROM MOBILE DEVICES THAN DESKTOPS. There are many reasons to expect mobile will increase the time we spent on social networks and make shopping easier and more fun.

9. SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE FASTEST GROWING CATEGORY ON MOBILE. At this rate in a few years, it’s also likely to be the biggest.

10. 60% OF US USE MOBILE TO SEARCH AND FIND DEALS AND RECEIVE THE BEST PRICE. Many also thought mobile made shopping easier and fun.

11. MOBILE MAKES SHOPPING MORE FUN BUT MOBILE ADS DON’T. Does that mean there will be less for advertising and more for social commerce?

12. THE HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW SAYS SOCIAL MEDIA HAS CHANGED THE WAY WE BUY. For decades, we would methodically “consider” and “evaluate” a purchase and then “buy.” Now, after we buy, we want to tell, “advocate” and “bond” with others who bought the same thing.  We “enjoy” doing it. And it’s because social media and social commerce give us the channel to connect this human behavior with our buying behavior.

Do you think your boss will take an interest Social Commerce from these charts?

12 case studies that prove Social Commerce ROI 25

Posted on July 05, 2011 by Rob Petersen

Social commerce is the merger of social media and ecommerce.

It’s a marketing combination that’s here to stay because it aligns with our buying behaviors.

  • 90 times in any given week people mention a specific brand
  • 90% of consumers trust recommendation from people they know; 70% trust recommendations from others even it they don’t know them
  • 83% of consumers share information from people they know
  • 81% says they’ve received advice on a product purchase from friends or followers on a social network site
  • 74% say that advice was influential
  • 71% claims reviews from family members and friends exert a great deal of influence on what we buy
  • 67% of consumers spend more online after receiving recommendations from friends
  • 61% of people rely on information from reviews when making a purchase decision
  • 14% of people trust advertising

Sources: Econsultancy, eMarketing, ClickZ, Internet Retailer, Bazaarvoice)

Social commerce provides strong evidence of social media ROI because direct sales occur on social sites.  In recent years and even months, the numbers of apps and vehicles to enable social commerce has skyrocketed.

The social network to show the greatest social commerce innovation is Facebook where the Like Button and plug-ins such as login-in with Facebook, recommendationsactivity feed, registrations, Live Stream, other social plug-ins and the Facebook Store create a rich customer experience where people with similar interests share brand affinities with the convenience of making purchases without ever having to leave Facebook.

As a result, there is a sub-set of social commerce called f-commerce and companies like Coca-Cola, Disney and P&G are actively involved.   There are the deal-of-the-day social networks, Groupon and Living Social and other social couponing sites.

Not to mention apps like Wildfire and Involver that, when added to social network sites like Facebook, Twitter and the company blog, provide coupons, offers and promotions to accelerate social commerce adoption.

But, if you’re still not convinced, here are 12 case studies that prove Social Commerce return on investment (ROI).

1   BEST BUY:  Discovered their core users and heaviest purchasers were Facebook users.  Merely by asking for consumers to come check them out on Facebook with no offer or coupon, their fans went from 27,000 to 163,000.  Within 9 days, sharing took the size of the community and their heavy user base from 163,000 to 900,000.  Best Buy has 3,281,961 Facebook Fans and WOMMA estimates the value of a Facebook Fan is $72.


2.  CARS.COM:  Does not sell directly to consumers but puts consumers in control by giving them information on cars from other consumers.  In examining the impact of other consumers’ recommendations, pages on the website that had reviews and ratings were compared to those that did not and showed:

  • +16% conversion increase for pages with reviews and ratings
  • +100% increase in traffic to locations for dealers
  • +45 increase in consumers seeking financing options

3.  DERRYNOID CENTRE:  A 40 suite conference and training center in Northern Ireland used Groupon to offer a 60% discount if a voucher was secured that day.  The Derrynoid Centre saw:

  • 426 reservations from the offer
  • 88% of people fulfilled reservations for hotel stay
  • +26% sustained increase in bar and restaurant sales resulted from the effort

The Groupon business model may not be for every business.  Here’s how it works.  Groupon insists there be at least a 50% discounts off the full rate and Groupon takes 50% of each sale.  But it does seem suited for a small business with low awareness where unfilled seats, rooms or idle workers create a financial drain that could otherwise be put to use.

4.  EVENTBRITE:  Sharing is one of Eventbrite’s most effective revenue generators.  When someone shares an event with their friends through social media, the action results in real dollars. Recent data shows that over the past 12 weeks, one share on Facebook equals $2.52, a share on Twitter equals $0.43 and a share on LinkedIn equals $0.90.  In one year Facebook went from being the 15th top driver of traffic to Eventbrite to the number one driver to the site. Eventbrite had over 17 million average monthly page views in 2010.

5.  MOVIEFONE: Executed a full scale Facebook implementation using Login with Facebook, Graph API, Events API, Like Button and the Activity Feed to enable social sharing and engagement. Consumers could connect with their Facebook friends on the Moviefone site pushing unique content and driving traffic.  The results were:

  • 300% increase in site traffic
  • 40,000 to 250,000 increase in referrals per month
  • 40% increase in click-through-rate
  • Average user click back to the Moviefone site 7X

6.  OFFICE DEPOT:  Incorporated consumer reviews into their website around specific products.  Then, they initiated paid search with the keywords consumer used in reviews.  The result were:

  • +78.5% increase in click-through rate
  • +23.8% increase in conversion
  • +196.6% gain in revenue
  • +183.3% increase in new buyers

7.  PREMIERE BEAUTY:  Beauty Salon offered 60% off through Groupon and turned beauty into a social business with:

  • 500 new customers
  • 85% of customer now come through social media because the store uses Facebook and Twitter to promote offers

8.  SHOE DAZZLE:  Leveraged Facebook Pages, Like buttons and Graph API to import friends who shared the ShoeDazzle shopping and discovery experience with other friends.  It resulted in

  • 100,000’s of Likes
  • 600% increase in Shares
  • Facebook user showed greater loyalty and bought more than non-Facebook users

9.  SPORTING NEWS:  Implemented recommendations plugin on their Facebook page to provide a simple and intuitive way for people to share articles from Sporting News back and saw:

  • 2X increase in site traffic within 3 months
  • Facebook goes from 16th to Top 3 referrer in site traffic
  • +30% increase in subscriptions

10.  STARBUCKS:  For a business that is primarily offline, Starbucks uses social commerce to gain an incremental online business with an advocacy component through their loyalty club, MyStarbuckRewards.  They offer special high-end blends to the members of luxury bounty hunter,  They set up social social commerce on Facebook that enables purchases from smart phones.  The activity show Starbucks believes social commerce is a significant source of business.

11.  STUDIO PE:  Pilates Studio used LivingSocial and changed its business model from personal sales to include group buys.  Owner, Carla Vercoe, claimed, before LivingSocial, no advertisement that she or the previous owner ever tried worked.

12.  TRIP ADVISOR:  Displayed friend’s reviews and opinions on Facebook that are directly relevant to planning and conversion.  Implemented Like button and other sharing functionality to help users share their experiences with their friends and saw:

  • 2X more content contribution from Facebook users than non-Facebook users
  • 20% in site engagement
  • Trip Advisor saw a direct correction between greater site engagement and increased conversion

In addition to showing ROI, these case studies demonstrate how social media and the tools now available are transitioning businesses that traditionally operated offline to online sales at group multiples; all to the betterment of their revenue and profitability.

We’ve written quite a bit on the subject of social media return on investment using case studies.  You can also check out 34 Case Studies that Prove Social Media ROI, 67 Case Studies that Prove Social Media ROI and 16 Case Studies that Prove Social CRM ROI.

Do you think your business might benefit from Social Commerce?

12 surprising stats for brands that learn social media skills 5

Posted on April 24, 2011 by Rob Petersen

Peter Drucker (at right) said:  The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.

How would Peter say brands that do business online are doing?

The trend is brands continue to do more business online, Despite a weak economy, online sales have grown for five consecutive quarters and, in the 4th quarter of 2010, online sales were a record breaking $43.4 billion, +11% versus year ago, according to comScore.

But statistics show for companies that learn social media skills, the benefits are a lot greater.  If you have a brand that has an online presence (and who doesn’t), these stats give direction on how to better manage your time, resources and marketing dollars.  More important, they show how to create and keep more customers now and for some time to come.

Here are 12 surprising stats that show the benefits to brands that learn social media skills.

  1. TRAFFIC TO COMPANY WEBSITES IS -23% IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS.  More business is moving online but the company website is clearly becoming less relevant.   
  2. 25% OF TIME PEOPLE SPEND ONLINE IS ON SOCIAL NETWORKS. That’s up from 15% a year ago and shows pretty directly where all that traffic away from company websites is going.
  3. 40% OF COMPANIES NOW DRAW MORE TRAFFIC TO THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE THAN THEIR WEBSITE.  According to the Harvard Business Review, it’s part of our DNA as human being to want to share our brand experiences with others.  The numbers show more people would rather learn and stay in touch with brands through social networks than listen to the company speak of corporate websites.
  4. 22% OF COMPANIES  NOW HAVE A BLOG BUT THE AVERAGE RATE OF POSTING IS 1X/YEAR.  That’s over 1 in 5 but the average publishing rate is 1 in 52.  The business building potential of blogs has not even been touched.
  5. ONLY 30%  OF COMPANIES CLAIM TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING TOOLS TO REPORT CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THEIR BRANDS TO THEIR MANAGEMENT.  Social media offers brands the opportunity to fish where the fish are but not if you don’t listen to where the conversations are occurring.
  6. 57% ADMIT THEIR BRANDS ARE AT RISK NOT USING TOOLS TO MONITOR CUSTOMER CONVERSATIONS.  This may occur for a variety of reasons: 1) Not enough time, 2) not enough resources or 2) lack of knowledge about specific monitoring tools.  With over half admitting their brands are as risk, the liklihood some progress is going to occur is good.   
  7. THE #1 REASON PEOPLE PRESS THE A FACEBOOK “LIKE” BUTTON IS TO RECEIVE PROMOTIONS AND DISCOUNTS.  In other words, when consumers are on Facebook, what we are saying to brands is “talk to me because if I like what you do for me, I’m going to be your biggest fan.”
  8. BRANDS THAT USE FACEBOOK FOR ECOMMERCE ACHIEVE 2%-4% CONVERSION (ON PAR WITH ECOMMERCE WEBSITES) AT NO COST THROUGH WALL POSTS.  The same conversion rate for no money.  Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
  9. FACEBOOK STORES (A SIMPLE, FREE OR LOW COST ADDITION TO A FACEBOOK PAGE) TYPICALLY SECURE 1-10% OF A BUSINESSES’ FAN BASE.  This is perhaps one of the best illustration that social media can be used for social commerce.
  11. PEOPLE SPEND 20% OF THEIR TIME ON TWITTER BUYING PRODUCTS:  Here’a all the brand related reasons people go to Twitter.
  12. THE RATE OF GROWTH FOR “SOCIAL COMMERCE” (SALES THROUGH SOCIAL NETWORKS) IS PREDICTED TO INCREASE +56% ANNUALLY FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT 5 YEARS.  That’s far above the increase in online sales noted at the top of this post.  It is expected to continue at this pace for some time as the chart before for Booz & Company illustrates.  Said another ways, brands that use social media for sales are going to more than double their business every two years.

The sources for this statistics comes from a variety of companies and individuals.  They include: Booz & Company, comScore, ExactTarget, Harvard Business Review, Marketing Profs, Silicon Alley Insider, Social Media Examiner, WebTrends, Mike Stelzner, Ann Handley and Jeff Bullas with my thanks.

Do these stats surprise you or cause you to want to learn social media skills for your brand?

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    BarnRaisers builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI. We are a full service digital marketing agency. Our expertise is strategy, search and data-driven results.

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