Consumers Hold Grudges Longer When They Feel Wronged By A Business, Study Shows

Marketers need to carefully consider each word used in campaigns, as consumers have become sensitive to the words used in campaigns.

A study shows it's easier for consumers to forgive a person than a business. For example, the slogan “Midwest nice” might be misleading, according to the newly launched Helping Hands survey commissioned by online reviews platform Trustpilot.

The company polled 2,000 U.S. adults through third-party research firm OnePoll, fielded between December 7 and 13, 2021. The company focuses on consumers who hold grudges toward businesses. The results highlight the impact grudges can have, not only on businesses, but also on one’s mental health.

The data shows that Midwest consumers took offense toward the businesses that didn’t meet their expectations compared with the rest of the country, with 62% of U.S. adults in this region noting they don’t regret holding a grudge and nearly six out of 10 thinking they have never been too quick to hold a grudge.

Consumers are more apt to hold more grudges against a business rather than a person, with 63% of respondents admitted to having held a grudge on a business following a poor experience and a third of Americans revealed they tend to be rash when posting messages, comments, or reviews on the internet versus in person. More than one-third admitted it’s easy for them to forget there are real people running businesses.



Trustpilot’s survey found that 60% of Americans report that a business has been able to change their opinion from bad to good following a disappointing experience in a variety of ways, proving that it’s possible to right the wrong.

Some 57% said they were able to forgive and forget if the business listened to feedback to help them make improvements for future customers. About 53% noted that businesses took quick and decisive action to fix the problem, and 50% received a discount or refund. Some 45% noted that a business “sincerely” apologized, changing their view of the company from negative to positive.

Age plays a factor. When it comes to grudges, those age 45 to 54 are more steadfast in their grudges and less likely to be swayed into changing their opinion. Some 66% of Americans in this age bracket are less likely to regret holding a grudge than younger Americans, 37% of those ages 25 to 34.

Following a disappointing experience, 72% of Americans ages 25 to 34 say they changed their opinion of a business from bad to good after a business took action, while only 40% of those in the older age brackets reported changing their opinion following such an experience.

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