“Horrible” customer experiences can be avoided for the price of a cheap lunch

17th May 2015

When you think of Comcast’s long-running customer service debacle and how it transmogrified from the raising of one initial complaint, it’s easy to see how important getting customer experience is in even the minutest of business processes.

But while Comcast’s issues are wide-reaching and said to stem from more inherent company culture issues, a new study from SDL has revealed just how easily other companies can fall into the same trap of delivering a “horrible customer experience”, by simply letting their focus slip in key areas.

Grilling thousands of consumers across the world about what they conceived to be major customer experience (CX) failures over the last ten years, SDL found these so-called “horrible” failures required less than an hour’s time and less than the cost of lunch (albeit on the pricier side) to defuse.

For example, when people were asked about their biggest CX success or failure in the last decade, 76% recalled a failure, while only 55% of those surveyed could remember a success. However, the failure bar was low, with 25% of the “massive” failures cost the customer only $20 to fix.

In most cases, respondents stated small customer experience failures with brands could on many occasions manifest into a major breakdown in trust in the future.

Specifically, 64% will stop recommending the organisation, start looking for an alternative brand or actively disparage the company via word of mouth, social media or other online channels.

“Consumers have high expectations for brands today and little patience for a break-down in experience,” says Paige O’Neill, CMO, SDL.

“While the good is expected, the bad will go viral. Keeping this in mind, organisations must have an integrated strategy in place that caters to each individual consumer and empowers employees to meet customers’ needs.”

Additional findings from the study also revealed:

  • 21% of major CX failures happen before a customer even buys.
  • 16% of major CX failures happen during the shopping journey, or “at the register”.
  • Younger generations are less willing to resolve a failure and will move on: 27 percent of young millennials will not try to resolve the failure, as compared to 13 percent of baby boomers.
  • More than 40% of consumers’ “worst CX experiences” have occurred in digital industries, including communications, electronics and online retail.
  • Consumers are more likely to remember a negative experience over a positive: of those consumers that can recall a major negative customer experience that occurred in the past 10 years, only 55% can recall a major positive customer experience occurring in the same timeframe.

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