How to lose a consumer in 3 ways

By Rachael Brice on March 28th, 2017

“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Raise your hand if you’ve had a bad customer service experience lately. Is your hand up? We have all had bad experiences at one time or another, but now raise your hand if you’ve recently had a great customer service experience. Is your hand up? Can you even think of a time? Why do these experiences require a little more thought?

Today’s brands consistently strive to build customer trust and loyalty, but like the old cliché, it’s easier said than done. Take a look at Toyota. They were ranked number 6 on Forbes, “The World’s Most Valuable Brands” list in 2016, but were recently knocked out of the top 10 due to the poor reliability of its redesigned Tacoma pickup. Customers want to be able to trust the brands and products that they use. So, how do top brands like Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Disney and GE continue to expand and maintain a reliable and loyal customer base? They don’t:

1. Share information. More than four in five US internet users surveyed in 2016 said that trustworthiness in regards to privacy is the most important component of what makes them loyal customers. If a customer provides his or her information it’s not to be taken lightly or shared with anyone else. Customers expect brands to keep their private information, well, private. Customers share a high confidence level with the brands they believe in, especially when they trust them to protect their information and become highly dissatisfied and frustrated once that data is shared. For customers a breach of privacy is a gross violation of trust on behalf of the brand or company. 

2. Respond slowly. We’ve all been put on hold, cut off or hung up on. If we truly believe “the customer is a company’s best asset” and that they’re “always right”, brands need to learn to listen to their customers and respond to their questions, concerns and inquiries in a timely manner. Roughly eight in 10 respondents surveyed in 2016 said it’s important that brands are there for them when needed, but otherwise want to be contacted minimally. No one likes to be kept waiting! And on the other side of the coin, no one likes to be harassed with unnecessary brand outreach and communication.

3. Break promises. We live in a world where overpromising and underdelivering happens more often than we’d like. When a brand promises a new product or service and delivers on time or even earlier than planned, customers praise them for a job well done, remain loyal to them and are likely to recommend them to a friend or family member. However, once a brand doesn’t deliver what they initially promised, customers are more likely to take their hard-earned cash elsewhere, possibly to a competitor, and some may never return. What’s worse is a brand that breaks a promise and offers no solution or updated timeline.   

Trust is a critical component not only when building a brand, but customer relationships too; it’s the glue that holds everything together. But once it’s broken, it’s hard to repair. What makes you a trustworthy and loyal customer?

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