The Thinning Patience Around Poor CX

Perfection isn’t possible, so let’s start there. Even if consumers have an unrealistic expectation for brands to get it right 100% of the time, it’s just not feasible. Mistakes happen. Especially when dealing with millions of customers and thousands of products, even the most fine-tuned operation is going to have hiccups.

However, brands can’t let that one-off mess-up turn into a commonality. A margin of error still exists, but we’re seeing it continue to shrink. 

We recently surveyed a national, 500-person swath of consumers to better understand what’s most important to them and how brands are doing in terms of delivering great customer experiences. You can read the entire report here. But for our purposes in this blog post, let’s focus on consumers’ feelings toward loyalty and the trend of dwindling patience. 

How quickly will consumers go? 

Of the consumer audience we talked to for our 2024 CX Trends Report, 63% said that they would only put up with 2-3 negative experiences before leaving that company for another brand. And while a more patient 15% said it would take 4-6 bad experiences to drive them away, another 18% admitted they would leave after just one poor experience. That leaves few opportunities for brands to atone for their mistakes and make it right with customers. Prove an inability to balance a bad experience with a great one and you’re at risk of losing a customer. 

Why are they leaving so quickly? 

This is obviously a complex and layered question with an  answer that varies depending on the consumer. But one theory is that there are just way more options readily available compared to just a few decades ago. 

Think about shopping in the 1990s or even early 2000s. Yes, ecommerce was starting to ramp up in the Internet boom, with sites like Amazon and eBay taking form, but largely, consumers were constricted to the physical brands near their homes. If Walmart was the only option to get certain types of products – let’s say kids’ shoes – then even if Walmart wasn’t excelling in its customer experiences, you were still probably going to keep going there. That was the most convenient option. But now there are countless methods for finding kids’ shoes and getting them to your door quickly and easily. You don’t have to put up with Walmart (in this example) because there are four other viable options waiting for you. 

Make the positive experiences shine 

The best way to keep customers staying and happy is to follow their feedback in our trend report and minimize those bad experiences by fixing the areas they see as problems. The next best way is to make sure the positive experiences really resonate. 

Both positive and negative experiences have mostly the same level of impact on customers. While 52% said a negative experience greatly influences their loyalty and another 30% said it somewhat has an influence, great experiences have a similar positive effect. Forty-nine percent said positive experiences have a great impact on loyalty, while another 35% said positive experiences have somewhat of an impact on loyalty.

Older consumers are also much more impacted by both types of experiences. For those 41 and older, 65% said a negative experience greatly influences their loyalty, compared to just 40% of those 18–25. Similarly, 60% of the 41+ age group said positive experiences have a similar impact, while just 37% of 18–25 year olds felt that way.

Again, because perfection isn’t possible, the math needs to be in your favor. Build yourself enough loyalty through positive experiences so that the occasional negative experience doesn’t end the relationship. Make sure you are taking steps to negate these widespread causes of bad CX and continue to listen to your customers about what they care about most so those positive experiences really stand out. 


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