According to new research from Accent Marketing Services, a whopping 86% of consumers say it’s important to have a positive experience after making a purchase−signaling the significance of the customer experience after a transaction to CMOs everywhere.

What’s more, a key component in the post-purchase experience is delivering personalized communication from brands. Accent Marketing Services, a provider of multichannel customer engagement solutions, announced its findings from its 2014 survey titled, “Beyond the Point of Purchase—A Look at Behaviors that Build Brand Loyalists.”

The survey findings align with Forrester’s expectations that organizations will explore the power of proactive pre-purchase and post-purchase engagements as a major marketing trend in 2014.

Here are some key takeaways from the survey:

Nearly half of consumers interact with brands after a purchase

Word-of-mouth marketing is still critical with 79% of consumers telling family and friends when they have had a great experience with a brand

93% of consumers claim that a positive response or special offer can help restore a company’s reputation after a bad experience

Brands can’t focus solely on mobile for interaction post-purchase—only 26% of consumers have used a mobile app on their phones to contact a company after making a purchase

“As consumers continue to evolve, we are seeing a significant shift in what CMOs are focusing on,” David Norton, EVP of customer analytics and insights at MDC Partners and chairman of Accent Marketing Services, said in the survey. “Their focus used to be solely on customer acquisition. CMOs today need to spend time to understand and engage customers across the entire lifecycle, not only pre-purchase. What our research has uncovered is that when CMOs consider the entire lifecycle, they can maximum return on investment.”

Accent Marketing’s research focuses on insights that CMOs and marketing professionals can use to improve customer experiences and brand loyalty across every stage of the customer lifecycle as a way to increase revenue.

While nearly half of all consumers interact with a brand post-purchase, how and when they interact with a brand varies. Unfortunately, for more than 80% of consumers, that interaction occurs only when problems with products or services arise.

Nearly 60% of consumers say they think about a brand when they are delighted by the product and nearly two-thirds think about a brand when looking to make another purchase.

When consumers have negative experiences with brands:

65% Complain to family and friends

60% Ask for help from the brand

41% Write an email/letter

34% Write online reviews

20% Seek advice from family and friends

19% Complain on social media

1% Make additional purchases

Consumers are using reviews to make decisions, the survey shows, and even a single review (positive or negative) can influence consumers. Marketers need to examine their online reputation and build a process that makes online reviews by the brand a part of the regular workflow.

Across all age groups, email is the preferred method of communication, the survey shows. To engage with consumers, brands need to recognize that consumers don’t think in terms of channels. They don’t differentiate between email, phone, and social media with brands–it’s all about communication.

Marketers need to understand what the customer experience looks like from all angles throughout the customer lifecycle.

Here are some additional takeaways from the survey:

More than half of consumers (54%) are also more likely to make future purchases when a company responds to them on social media

Establishing a relationship with customers needs to happen during both pre- and post-purchase

Customers want to talk about brands, so make sure they are brand advocates

CMOs need to focus on the entire customer lifecycle, not just at the point of purchase

Personalize the customer experience by offering relevant offers and promotions

Marketers need to identify areas for custom communication by using data and analytics to better understand their customers

Email is a proven channel that is still valuable for marketers

Brands should explore how to use mobile apps to interact with their customers

Influencer channels, like online reviews and social media, need to be monitored proactively to maintain a positive online reputation for brands

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