Bad Customer Experiences Cost North American Businesses Over $200 Billion a Year

A new survey of 3,000 North American adults revealed the potential costs of a positive or negative customer experience for food and retail brands.

According to the survey, although consumers are more likely to respond to a positive experience, negative experiences could cost North American businesses more than $200 billion yearly.

The survey was commissioned by Steritech, leaders in food safety and operational assessments, and revealed what customers expect from the convenience stores, grocery stores and other retail outlets they visit daily and how they react if their expectations are unmet.

Consumer experiences over the past few years have shifted as a result of world events, and with that comes the expectation of a seamless and consistent customer experience supported by strong brand values,” said Doug Sutton, president at Steritech.

“This study highlights the value of a positive interaction in a store which could lead to a happy customer and a supportive online review or social post that benefits the business, but the opposite can cause damage too, so the importance of getting it right every time is crucial.”

The findings identified what factors consumers value most and how their experience can influence behaviours. Top-level findings include:

  • Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents say that they expect a brand to provide the same experience from one store to the next.
  • One in four consumers will visit a brand less frequently after one bad experience; conversely, more than half (59%) will visit a location more regularly after a positive experience.
  • 52% of respondents believe online reviews accurately represent an establishment.
  • Consumers are more likely to post an online review about a positive experience (29%) than a negative one (23%).

As the digital age continues to evolve, digital channels have become popular for consumers to amplify their good and bad experiences. Today’s buyers can broadcast their experiences to wider audiences with a simple button click.

The survey demonstrates the importance of well-rounded experiences curated for different types of stores and the impact these experiences have on customer loyalty.

To reap the rewards of increased sales, customer loyalty and brand perception, retailers should focus on crafting experiences that meet and exceed their customers’ expectations.