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Go with a recommendation

Keely Stocker

Debenhams is spreading the word about its business by encouraging customers to share their experiences

Debenhams has launched GoRecommend, a tool that will allow the department store chain to use its own customers to promote the business.

Just over a year ago Debenhams started a project to collate customer data in order to find out more about its customers and their opinion on its stores.

Customers were given a link on the back of till receipts prompting them to go online and complete a survey about their shopping experience for the chance to win £1,000. The survey asked questions such as how they found the layout of the store, what they thought of the mannequins and styling in store as well as the customer service.

As an extension of this process, Debenhams has now added the GoRecommend tool, which gives customers the opportunity to share their experience with their friends via social networking sites and email. The tool, powered by Empathica, recognises when customers have given positive feedback and a window pops up on the screen asking if they would like to share this recommendation with friends on Facebook, Twitter or via email.

The recommendation can include a personal comment from the customer saying what they liked about the experience and also includes an automated message from Debenhams stating the exact store the customer had the good experience in. This is then posted on the social networking site, or sent via email to friends of that customer.

Debenhams uses this space to encourage friends of customers to become fans of the Debenhams Facebook page and this has increased fan numbers by 17%. The retailer has also used it to give customers voucher codes that can be redeemed by the customers or their peers online or in store.

Empathica has gathered about 12,000 responses from Debenhams customers, showing the potential reach of the GoRecommend tool.

Once the tool is installed there is no additional work for the retailer. Debenhams can use these brand advocates to reach a new audience that will trust the opinions of their peers, making them much more likely to become Debenhams shoppers themselves.

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