Companies looking to benefit from online PR activities to boost their image with customers could find engaging with them via social media may bring benefits.

According to Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, while less than one in five people trust advertising, they are far more likely to pay attention to what other individuals say about a business.

She highlighted research that revealed 78 per cent of consumers trust social media recommendations from their peers and pointed out that a high level of customer service is vital to developing brand loyalty.

Therefore, businesses that engage with individuals through a social media service could find that any increased reputation this brings to them may be beneficial to their sales.

Earlier this week, a poll conducted by Verdict Research to find the UK's favourite retailer found that those companies with high levels of customer service rated highly, with John Lewis topping the chart for the fourth consecutive year.

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