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02/10/2022

Survey: Bad customer experience kills brand loyalty quickly

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Bad customer experience
Bad customer experience can drive away loyal shoppers.

It doesn’t take many bad service experiences to turn a loyal customer against your brand.

According to a new survey of more than 2,000 consumers from the U.S. and the U.K. from customer experience technology provider Emplifi, 86% of respondents will leave a brand they were once loyal to after only two to three bad customer service experiences. Roughly half (49%) of respondents have left a brand they were previously loyal to in the last 12 months due to poor customer service.

The survey also revealed that slow response time is the leading contributor to a negative customer service experience, followed by a lack of 24/7 customer service support. More than half (52%) of respondents expect brands to respond to customer service inquiries via digital channels within an hour, with 22% expressing a preference for social media, 19% for email, and 16% for website chat. 

Examining responses by country, the survey reveals that U.S. consumers expect more from brands. Forty-nine percent of U.S. respondents attach a high importance to social media customer experiences, compared to 37% of U.K. respondents. About two-thirds (65%) of U.S. respondents are willing to pay a premium price for outstanding customer service, compared to 56% of U.K. respondents. 

Additional key findings include:

  • One in six online shoppers will abandon a purchase because of a single bad experience. 
  • 53% of respondents left a brand in the past 12 months after a single bad experience.
  • 49% of respondents rate excellent social media customer service as important when making a purchase.

The recent “2022 Global Customer Engagement Review” from customer engagement platform Braze examined how top-performing retailers approach customer engagement. The study found that at these retailers, customer engagement is lifecycle-centric, owned by cross-functional teams, and built on streaming data.

The study revealed that top-performing retailers are 97% more likely than other retailers to actively experiment with marketing campaigns and customer journeys, 42% more likely to have employees trained on customer engagement tech and approaches, and 41% more likely to assess the results from customer engagement activities.

On the technology side, top-performing retailers are 48% more likely to individually personalize messages at send time, 33% more likely to continuously export user behavior and engagement data for analysis, and 18% more likely to use a single solution to orchestrate cross-channel campaigns. Business results for these retailers include a 38% increase in repeat buyer conversion rate, as well as an 8.8x increase in user-to-buyer conversion rate and 8.6x increase in purchases per user.

“There is a major disconnect happening right now between what consumers expect and what brands are delivering when it comes to their customer experience efforts,” said Emplifi chief experience office Shellie Vornhagen. “Consumers have too many options to stick around after a poor customer experience. If you’re not delivering exceptional customer experience, your customers are going to turn to your competitors, no matter how loyal they were once upon a time.”