Customer Satisfaction Boosts Loyalty To News, Entertainment Sites

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ANN ARBOR — The customer experience analytics firm ForeSee Thursday released a benchmark study that reports customer satisfaction for news and entertainment Web and mobile sites.

The research also quantifies the value of satisfaction in terms of loyalty and recommendations.

Today’s benchmark represents more than 50,000 surveys expressing customer satisfaction, or, in some cases, dissatisfaction with the Web and mobile experiences provided by some of the major players in these categories.

Today’s benchmark release includes several major categories of news and entertainment Web sites and mobile experiences. Each category is given an average satisfaction score on a 100-point scale so that organizations within that category can determine if they surpass or fall short of industry averages.

News Web Sites

The ForeSee news benchmark includes Web sites for organizations like Automotive News, Forbes, International Data Group, the Weather Channel, and many others.  Aggregate satisfaction for this benchmark is 76 on ForeSee’s 100-point scale, and individual Web site scores within the benchmark range from a low of 66 to a high of 85.

“Customers have so many choices when it comes to getting their news — they have the option to select from various channels and outlets,” said Eric Feinberg, senior director at ForeSee overseeing the news, media, entertainment, and mobile industries. “Providing a superior customer experience can give one organization a huge competitive advantage over another.”

Since future behaviors of customers are proven to have a direct effect on a company’s future success, ForeSee compared the behaviors of highly satisfied Web site visitors (those with satisfaction at 80 or higher on ForeSee’s 100-point scale) to the future behaviors of less satisfied site visitors (those with satisfaction 69 or below).

Based on likelihood scores, highly satisfied visitors to news websites report being:
* 43 percent more likely than less satisfied visitors to return to the Web site again, which means visit frequency and engagement that translates directly into value for advertisers.
* 77 percent more likely to recommend the website to a friend, family member or colleague, which results in more site visits and a premium on ad space.
* 58 percent more likely to use the site as a primary resource (as opposed to other channels like print or broadcast).
* 73 percent more likely to subscribe to the full site (for sites that are subscription based) which brings in revenue.
* 147 percent more likely to click on an ad, which creates demonstrable value for advertisers.

Entertainment Web sites

The ForeSee entertainment benchmark includes websites such as ESPN and many others. Aggregate satisfaction for this benchmark is 78 (slightly higher than average satisfaction for news sites, which is 76), and individual company scores within the entertainment benchmark range from a low of 71 to  high of 84.

For the first time this year, ForeSee researchers were able to break down the entertainment category even further to take a look through the customers’ eyes at both the media and entertainment sites that are advertising-driven versus those that are subscription-based.

Based on the research, highly satisfied visitors to advertising-driven news and entertainment sites report being:

* 45 percent more likely than less satisfied visitors to return to the Web site again.
* 81 percent more likely to recommend the Web site to a friend, family member, or colleague.
* 54 percent more likely to use the site as their primary resource.

And highly satisfied visitors to subscription-based news and entertainment sites report being: * 70 percnet more likely than less satisfied visitors to return to the Web site again. * 116 percent more likely to recommend the Web site.

News and Entertainment Mobile Sites and Apps

With the growing popularity and capabilities of mobile devices to deliver news and entertainment, ForeSee added a new benchmark that measures customer satisfaction of the mobile experiences being provided by news and entertainment companies (including mobile-optimized sites and apps on a variety of phones and tablets). Average satisfaction for these mobile sites and apps is 72 on ForeSee’s 100-point scale, quite a bit lower than satisfaction for traditional news websites (76) or entertainment websites (78). Individual scores within the benchmark range from a low of 58 to a high of 84.

“Mobile is an incredibly powerful tool for news and entertainment organizations,” Feinberg said. “People want to be able to read the top stories, watch their favorite shows and check the latest scores from their phone or tablet, and they expect the experience to be as seamless, easy, and convenient as it is on their desktop computer. The lower score for this category suggests that overall, some companies haven’t quite figured out how to meet expectations in the mobile environment. However, since we have a few scores in the high 70’s to mid-80’s, clearly some are mastering this new medium, and they will be setting the bar high. A positive mobile experience can support a company’s existing brand, and a poor one can undermine it.”

Highly satisfied visitors to news and entertainment sites through a mobile device report being:
* 58 percent more likely than less satisfied visitors to return to the mobile site or app again, which equates to more frequency and engagement.
* 88 percent more likely to recommend the mobile site or app to a friend, family member, or colleague.

“We release these benchmarks to our clients every month and to the public at least once a year, but the one thing that remains the same is that customer satisfaction continues to be critical to the future success of every news and entertainment organization because the industry is so competitive and customers have so many choices,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “When customer satisfaction is measured precisely, using a reliable and proven methodology, we can accurately look into the future to see what our customers will do next, and make changes that will make them more loyal, more likely to subscribe, and more engaged with the site and its advertisers.”

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