Survey: The Little Things Add Up

Cash-register-AIt’s not typically the one big mistake that causes brands to lose customers. Rather, it’s the piling up of little inconveniences that erode their confidence and drive them to competitors. 

According to a survey commissioned by Redwood Software, more than half of consumers (51%) said they have ended contracts or changed suppliers of products because of repeated service failures, such as inexplicable delays, inadequate inventory or difficulties in returning unwanted products. 

“What causes a lot of these things is that in this day and age with companies that have such large brands, there’s so many moving pieces,” Peter Minck, a representative of Redwood Software, tells Marketing Daily. “Unfortunately, given this complexity of the current sales environment, there are things that fall through the cracks.”

But those things that fall through the cracks have a cumulative impact on customer experience. Nearly half (49%) said they have terminated an online purchase because it took too long, and a similar amount (48%) said they did so because the purchase process was too complicated. Three-quarters have left brick-and-mortar stores, and nearly two-thirds have left online marketplaces, because they couldn’t find what they were looking for. 

Furthermore, nearly half (46%) get upset when they have to wait several minutes for a salesperson to check on inventory in a store, and over a third (36%) said they get upset when the sales rep can’t tell them whether a desired item is available online or at another store.

Other annoyances included: hassles returning unwanted purchases, experiencing delays in credits being returned to an account and not receiving acknowledgement that a returned items was received. 

“What we found wasn’t a surprise but it reaffirmed what we already knew,” Minck says. “A lot of [annoyances] revolve around the process and the execution of processes around the company. Their orders being late, inventory not available, credits not being processes quickly.”

Though consumers will be forgiving of some of things these for their favorite brands, he says the majority that don’t have loads of goodwill built up need to focus on getting all of the little things right to build customer loyalty. 

“Companies with very strong brands can have some blips, if they have a plan to recover from [mistakes],” Minck says. “But there aren’t a whole lot of brands that consumers are that loyal to. For the other brands, if they have problems with returns or improper credits, [people will] look for something else.”

Tags: research, retail
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