Debenhams, the department store group, has reached almost 1.5 million consumers via social media channels, following its introduction of the GoRecommend programme from Empathica, a customer experience management expert.
The application encourages customers to become advocates of the Debenhams brand by promoting positive retail experiences via social media channels using an automated referral process. To date, Debenhams has acquired more than 12,000 brand advocates who in turn have made recommendations to over 1.5 million friends and followers.
Debenhams has long realised the strategic importance of the brand advocate to their business and has found that smaller targeted campaigns using GoRecommend have also had success for the business. Kate Whittaker, Strategy Manager at Debenhams, said, "Late last year we decided to include a coupon voucher with every recommendation made by an advocate. During the two-week promotion, advocates delivered the voucher to their friends and followers on social media via GoRecommend. From those advocates, Debenhams received thousands of redemptions and sales".
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, Twitter or email. The results instantly generate a significant number of positive brand impressions, as the location-specific content can automatically appear on both a brand's Facebook fan page, and a user's profile page.
Gary Topiol, Managing Director, EMEA of Empathica, said, "We've found that people are happy to make recommendations online, especially when they have a strong affinity with a brand like Debenhams. We are excited to be driving a significant impact in the social media space and doing it in a new and innovative way that leverages the power of the brand advocate. GoRecommend has been a tremendous success among our clients, and to date positive impressions of their customers' have reached over 40 million people through their social networks, and the number continues to grow. The cost of reaching this number of people using conventional marketing would be significantly higher and less trusted by consumers than the results we achieved by leveraging genuine, personal customer recommendations via social media."