Business Case and Implications for Consistency – Part 4 – Consistency and the Outsized Influence of Poor Experiences

In earlier posts we discussed the business case for consistency, primarily because consistency drives customer loyalty and the causal chain from consistency to customer loyalty.

This post continues to explore the business case for consistency by considering the influence of poor experiences.

To start, let’s consider the following case study:

Assume a brand’s typical customer has 5 service interactions per year.  Also assume, the brand has a relatively strong 95% satisfaction rate.  Given these assumptions, the typical customer has a 25% probability each year of having a negative experience, and in four years, in theory, every customer will have a negative experience.

In 4 Years: Every Customer Will Have a Negative Experience

As this case study illustrates, customer relationships with brands are not defined by individual, discrete customer experiences but by clusters of interactions across the lifecycle of the customer relationship.  The influence of individual experiences is far less important than the cumulative effect of these clusters of customer experiences.

Consistency reduces the likelihood of negative experiences contaminating the clusters of experiences which make up the whole of the customer relationship.  Negative experiences, regardless of how infrequent, have a particularly caustic effect on the customer relationship.   A variety of research, including McKiney’s The Three Cs of Customer Satisfaction: Consistency, Consistency, Consistency, has concluded that negative experiences have three to four times the influence on the customer as positive experiences – three to four times the influence on the customer’s emotional reaction to the brand – three to four times the influence on loyalty, purchase intent and social sharing within their network.

Negative Experiences Outweigh Positive Experiences

 

In our next post we will discuss inter-channel consistency.

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About Eric Larse

Eric Larse is co-founder of Seattle-based Kinesis CEM, LLC, which helps clients plan and execute their customer experience strategies through the intelligent use of customer satisfaction surveys and mystery shopping, linked with training and incentive programs. Visit Kinesis at: www.kinesis-cem.com

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