Digital technologies have transformed the way the world consumes and also the way that consumers react to and share their experiences. At the click of the button they can tell a network of millions about their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The impact this can have is both remarkable and frightening.
Bank of America announced a $5 monthly debit card fee in September last year. An online petition against the changes, started by a customer, had over 300,000 signatures within six days. Another irritated customer created a Facebook event, Bank Transfer Day, which received 81,900 RSVPs and called for a switch from commercial banks, like Bank of America, to not-for-profit credit unions. In the month following Bank Transfer Day (November 5th), US credit unions enrolled $4.5 billion in new accounts – driving the total number of accounts up by 50%. Unsurprisingly, Bank of America and three other major banks dropped their debit card fees as a result of the social backlash.
Consumers don’t stand still when it comes to sharing on social media. This is just one example of the influence and power of social consumption… and there are plenty of positive stories to tell too:
Small business @Intuit joined Twitter in 2008 after finding it had a higher level of ‘talk’ compared to other sites – but that a lot of the sentiment was negative. So, they joined in the conversation, providing answers and information, and decreased negative sentiment by 30% in three months without even changing any of their products, prices or policies. As @Intuit put it:
“if you’re not part of the conversation, it’s easy for the conversation to be negative.”