Social is now an essential part of the customer experience toolbox, as millennials are more likely to be loyal to a brand that responds to feedback via this channel, new research claims.

Customer experience business TELUS International surveyed more than 2,000 adults across the US and found that brand loyalty is linked to social media for the majority of millennial consumers.

Almost two thirds (62%) of millennials said they would likely recommend a brand that has an exceptional social media presence even if they were not initially happy with their product or service – a “second chance to make a first impression”, TELUS suggested.

Nearly three quarters (72%) of this age group (vs. 47% of Americans aged 45+) also indicated they would be more likely to be loyal to a brand that responds to feedback via social media over a brand that does not.

That social is becoming increasingly mainstream is evident in the finding that more than a third (38%) of millennials (and 24% of Americans overall) claim to have provided feedback to companies they have purchased from using company social media channels once a week or more often in the past 12 months.

Encouragingly for brands, more millennials preferred to leave positive rather than negative feedback this way (18% vs. 13%).

“Millennials are poised to represent 30% of retail sales, and are clearly in the driver’s seat when it comes to influencing where and how brands need to engage with consumers in order to remain relevant and top of mind,” said Jeffrey Puritt, President and CEO, TELUS International.

“Considering the highly-public nature of feedback posted on social channels and its significant influence on purchasing decisions, brands must constantly monitor and quickly respond, or risk losing customers and other potential patrons,” he added.

“An authentic and strategic social media presence that provides consumers with personalized, informative and immediate responses is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a necessity in the digital age when customer experience, not price, is the top competitive differentiator.”

Sourced from TELUS International; additional content by WARC staff