Consumer (Dis)Likes and Brand Loyalty in the Era of Digital Customer Experience

Consumer (Dis)Likes and Brand Loyalty in the Era of Digital Customer Experience

decibelinsight logo It’s no secret that customer experience – both in person and online – is top of mind for every modern business. Consumers can move from one brand to another with the touch of a button and have more options than ever to obtain the product or service of their choice. If brands don’t deliver the best customer experience possible on their websites and apps, they risk consumers going elsewhere, potentially putting brand loyalty and revenue on the line.

What keeps consumers coming back to a brand or, perhaps more importantly, pushes them elsewhere? Are digital experiences truly that important in what can be a very complex relationship between a brand and its consumers?

Decibel surveyed 1,000 consumers in the U.K. and U.S. to gauge their experiences on websites and apps – the good and the bad – and how those experiences impact brand loyalty. These are the emerging trends:

Sub-Par Digital Experiences Cost Brands

A crashing app. A “cannot load page” message. A page that takes forever to load. We have all felt the pain of a digital experience that just didn’t live up to expectations. But does it cause people to abandon the brand? Decibel found that for many consumers, the answer to that question is a resounding YES. Bad digital experiences do alienate consumers and cost brands.

A whopping 95 percent of respondents will leave a website or app due to a bad experience. And unfortunately for brands, there’s no single frustration that the bad experience can be boiled down to. More than a dozen qualities have a negative effect on consumers’ experiences online, including broken links, links bringing them to the wrong page, and too much scrolling required. The most commonly cited frustration varies slightly between the U.S. and U.K. Americans’ biggest digital frustration, cited by 41 percent of respondents, was having an ad block the page view, and the most common frustration in the U.K. was unacceptably long page load times, with 33 percent citing it as their biggest pain point.

Consumers Are Suffering in Silence

What brands are challenged with, though, is knowing when consumers have these negative experiences and being able to remedy the issue in near-real time. Frustrating digital experiences go unreported almost half of the time, and only eight percent always report a frustrating experience – and that’s consistent across U.K. and U.S. consumers.

Brands can’t let consumers suffer in silence. Just because consumers don’t report a bad digital experience doesn’t mean they are complacent. Even if people love a brand, nearly 20 percent of respondents say bad experiences impact their brand loyalty a lot, and nearly 60 percent say they’ll go elsewhere if they can get the same product at another vendor with a better experience.

Knowing that consumers are unlikely to report bad digital experiences and are even more likely to reconsider their brand loyalty as a result, how can brands keep them engaged?

Brands Need to Bring Back the Basics, Not the Buzzwords

Decibel found a silver lining among the data: consumers’ expectations are seemingly quite simple when it comes to creating a positive experience – they want fast, easy to navigate pages, not complex, interactive experiences.

The bottom line: while flashy experiences like personalized content, slick videos and virtual tours can capture prospects’ attention, they will prove ineffective in driving transactions and maintaining customer loyalty if the brand does not meet the core needs of digital users—simplicity and speed. Before brands try to create “cool factor” experiences, they must perfect website fundamentals.

Creating a positive digital customer experience is essential to remaining relevant and driving revenue. The key is for brands to understand when such experiences go haywire. With consumers reluctant or refusing to report a bad experience, brands cannot rely on traditional analytics like surveys or Net Promoter Scores, which were designed for a world that operated largely offline.

Only when brands can quantify digital customer behavior at scale can they effectively create, measure and optimize experiences online. They must understand what happens between the clicks to ensure they know not just what their customers are doing, but how they are feeling so they can make improvements before consumers reach their digital boiling points.

Read more: Building and Maintaining Digital Trust and Brand Loyalty: A Three-Step Process

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