Fewer Consumers Will Stay Quiet About a Bad Experience Than a Good One

February 14, 2020

Qualtrics How Consumers Share Good Bad Experiences Feb2020With consumers feeling less loyalty towards brands and the power of word-of-mouth remaining a strong influencer in purchase decisions, it’s vital for businesses to offer an outstanding customer experience. Further evidence for this is seen in research [download page] from the Qualtrics XM Institute, which reveals that only one-fifth (19.3%) of the 10,000 US consumers surveyed say they did not tell anyone about a very bad experience they recently had with a company.

Although more consumers say they didn’t tell anyone after a very good experience (30.9%), it is worth noting that the number of consumers who keep quiet after a very bad experience has actually decreased since a similar survey was conducted the previous year.

So, what did consumers do when they had a very bad experience? One-third (33.7%) of consumers say that they told friends about the bad experience either by email, phone or in person. The good news for businesses is that when consumers had a very good experience, even more (36.7%) told friends about it.

While one-fifth (20.1%) of consumers say that they sent feedback directly to the company via a call (5.1%), email (8.8%) or website complaint (5%) when they had a very bad experience with the company, about 15% say they took to social media to share their experience. Some 10.7% wrote something about it on Facebook and 4.5% used their 280 characters on Twitter to tell others about their experience.

Additionally, the one-tenth (9.9%) of respondents say that they shared their very bad experience with a company by putting a comment or rating about the company on a 3rd party site like Yelp or TripAdvisor.

Age appears to be a factor in how consumers respond to bad experiences. Overall, older consumers are less likely to tell anyone about a very bad experience, and when they do, those consumers 65+ were more likely to send feedback directly to the company in question than to tell their friends.

By contrast, consumers between the ages of 18 and 44 were more likely to tell friends about their very bad experience with a company. Not surprisingly, those younger consumers were much more likely than older consumers to spread the story of their bad experience on social media, although the likelihood does drop off with age even for those respondents. Research from BRP from last year came to similar findings, with 56% of consumers between 18-37 years old saying they would share an unsatisfactory shopping experience on social media.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey from Q2 2019 of 10,000 US consumers.

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