Customer disloyalty – the damaging result of a negative customer experience

Last updated
May 14, 2024
Don't sleep on the fundamentals. Disloyalty is more damaging than loyalty is helpful, and what really grinds someone's gears is a poor customer experience that makes them do extra work.

Don't sleep on the fundamentals. Disloyalty is more damaging than loyalty is helpful, and what really grinds someone's gears is a poor customer experience that makes them do extra work.

The basics are the backbone of loyalty. In a Gartner study of 97,000 responses regarding customer service, they found that "exceeding expectations" does NOT lead to more loyalty than a merely satisfying one; and that loyalty actually plateaus after needs are met.

What's more powerful than going above and beyond? Going smooth and quick.

A hot cookie might be nice, but it won't make up for service issues

What does lead to more loyalty are two basics that we see time and again, so it's safe to assume this customer behavior isn't changing any time soon:

🛏 A solid product for the price

☎ Great customer service that focuses on fast resolutions

Disloyalty is damaging

“The data from our study showed that 45% of the people who had something positive to say about a company told fewer than three other people,” says Rick DeLisi, principle executive advisor at Gartner.

“However, 48% of people who had a negative experience told more than ten people.”

Could it be that... reducing disloyalty improves loyalty? 🤔

How to avoid disloyalty? Be easy to work with

The easier it is to do business with you, the more likely a customer is to come back. This includes the purchase, service, and usage experiences.

“We found that the majority of customers, notably 96%, who had high-effort experiences reported being disloyal, compared to only 9% of customers with low-effort experience,” says Toman (for example, having to repeat information or call back multiple times).

So if you're deciding how to "surprise and delight" your customers next, ask yourself if you first need to just... audit the customer service answer system. Improve all the answers, add thank-you perks, and enable your team to solve low-cost problems without bottlenecks. That might go a lot farther than flower petals on the bed.

What would it look like to really dig into the most important touchpoints between your customers and your organization, and include rewards and thank-yous when the customer takes the effort to do the action?

Plus you'll save a heck of a lot on cookies!

About the author
Adrienne Kmetz
Adrienne is a marketing expert with a career history of working in startups of all sizes, from early stage to series A. She has 17+ years of experience writing about business, finance, and entrepreneurship. She went to Colorado College where she majored in skiing.
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