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(May 16, 2001) -- Marketers that don't listen to or follow-up with consumers are in danger of losing them, according to a new study commissioned by Havas Advertising's Brann Worldwide.

The survey of 1,800 U.S. and U.K. consumers conducted by Harris Interactive found that more than 50% of consumers would switch brands if a company doesn't call back after promising to follow-up, doesn't fix a problem after numerous requests for information by service representatives, or charges customers for technical support for faulty products.

These mistakes could cost marketers millions of dollars in lost business, according to the report, "Marketing Practices that Drive Customers Away," because disgruntled consumers often engage in "anti-advocacy," passing on their bad buying experiences to family members and friends.

As part of Brann's "Helping Buyers Buy" positioning, the agency has launched a Buyer's Experience Web site, where vistors can vote on negative customer experiences. Brann will use this information to compile a quarterly Buyer's Experience Index, in which the agency's marketing specialists will also offer marketers suggestions on how to change undesirable practices.

The index will be sent out as an opt-in e-mail newsletter. -- Cara Beardi

Copyright May 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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