We asked consumers to tell us about the purchases they had made during the previous 90 days. One of our questions examined how important five information sources were to 14 purchase decisions. As you can see in the figure below:

  • Employee are critical. For eight out of 14 of the purchases, consumers most frequently identified discussions with employees or agents of the company as an important factor in their decision.
  • Websites are also critical. Information on a company’s website was one of the top two sources for 13 out of the 14 purchases.
  • There’s a lot of research for investment accounts. Investment purchases earned one of the top two usage levels for four out of five of the informations sources.
  • Health plans are a social media dead spot. Which purchase shows the lowest level of importance for both online ratings and social media sites? Health plans.
  • Facebook and Twitter are used the most for financial planning. While Facebook and Twitter aren’t one of the top two sources of information for any of the purchases we examined, they are most highly used for the two that relate to financial planning: Investment accounts and life insurance.

1308_PurchaseInfoSourcesThe bottom line: Your employees are really, really important

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