Empathica enhances its popular GoRecommend Facebook app

The patent-pending application, which empowers brand advocates to share their recommendations in a fun and engaging way, now also lets users send virtual gifts and coupons.

Empathica, a customer experience management expert, has announced new features for its patent-pending brand recommendation application, GoRecommend that will help brands further mobilise advocates.

After customers complete a retail experience survey, the GoRecommend engine prompts those who were happy with their experience to make an online recommendation on Facebook. With the new GoRecommend features, brands can now give satisfied customers two additional options: the ability to send Facebook virtual gifts to their friends, or coupons that can be used at the brand's locations.

GoRecommend virtual gifts tap into a booming viral marketing phenomenon
Facebook virtual gifts have become a very popular feature on the social networking site, allowing users to give each other tokens of appreciation that live within Facebook user profiles.

GoRecommend allows brands to tap into the power of virtual gifts on Facebook, with the ability to create virtual gifts that tie into the brand and that are distributed through GoRecommend's viral marketing engine.

"While virtual gifts can still be tied back to strategic marketing campaigns or even charity causes, it's not about being directly promotional," says Dr. Gary Edwards, Executive Vice President of Client Services. "The goal is to encourage brand advocacy in a way that is fun, engaging for the consumer, and entirely authentic to the Facebook experience. Content is driven by the customer/user, not the brand itself."

GoRecommend couponing extends the power of brand couponing initiatives
GoRecommend coupons are another way consumers can extend goodwill to friends, providing them with an extra incentive to check out a restaurant or retailer they thoroughly enjoyed.

Brands can also view the analytics behind user demographics and behaviors related to the GoRecommend-powered brand coupons, identifying how frequently those who were positive with their customer experience chose to share a coupon with a friend, as well as coupon click-through rates.

GoRecommend's viral marketing engine is driving new customer acquisition
Early pilots of GoRecommend's new features by leading brands show the effectiveness of integrating customer experience surveys with a viral recommendation engine.

Results experienced by Boston Market recently showed that for every recommendation made, approximately four coupons were redeemed in-store.

"We've received some really passionate recommendations from our customers via GoRecommend, and I'm continually surprised by the breadth of positive language consumer's use when they share experiences online," said John Jones, Boston Market's VP of Operations Systems. "It's very rewarding to hear and see what guests are saying about your restaurant rather than just receiving a statistical report. Yet those statistics are still worthwhile, since our GoRecommend coupon redemption rate has been substantial so far.  It is clear there is incremental sales potential by creating the opportunity for our guests to make immediate recommendations to a powerful social network of friends. It is definitely more than we anticipated."

To date, more than 40 brands are utilising the GoRecommend application to mobilise advocates and generate new business. As a result, GoRecommend now boasts a total of more than 50,000 recommendations that have been shared among 8 million friends.

This non-direct promotional tactic is working well. GoRecommend posts have experienced ten-times the click-through rate as compared to Facebook paid advertising, as the newsfeed posts are the "front page" for Facebook users.
A 2010 Retail Omnibus study conducted by Morpace, Inc., further validates this finding, reporting that 68 percent of Facebook users said a positive referral from a Facebook friend would make them more likely to buy a specific product or visit a certain retailer.
The GoRecommend app uses an automated referral process that takes little to no effort from the brand itself.
About Empathica
Empathica provides Customer Experience Management programs to over 200 of the world's leading brands, ranging from multi-unit retailers, to banks and restaurants. Its rich analysis of survey data using state-of-the-art surveying and dashboard reporting software allows for performance-improvement solutions, evidence-based marketing insights, and customer experience management consulting. Annually, Empathica's 30 million customer surveys in 17 languages reach more than 70,000 locations. A privately-held organization, Empathica is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and also has offices in Birmingham, England and Alpharetta, GA, in the United States.

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