While research has found a majority of US consumers having switched providers due to poor customer service, bad service experiences aren’t the leading reason why consumers stop buying from a brand, according to new survey results [download page] from rbb Communications. Instead, product quality seems to be the key determinant of brand loyalty.
The survey was conducted among 1,162 US adults, who were asked why they would stop buying from a brand. By far the most common reason cited was poor product quality, by 45% of respondents. That was more than twice the share of the next biggest reasons, bad customer service (22%) and more expensive prices (20%). Just 4% pointed to negative reviews as their top reason for stopping doing business with a brand. Online reviews are very important to consumers’ purchase decisions, but presumably in this case customers take their own experiences with a brand into account more than reviews.
The order of responses – quality, service and price – seem to align with CMOs’ views of what’s important to customers. In a recent CMO Survey from Duke University, CMOs felt that superior product quality was customers’ most important priority, followed closely by excellent service and trailed by low prices.
Sometimes quality and price go hand-in-hand, though, particularly relating to value perception. When respondents to the rbb Communications survey were asked why they would buy more from a brand, roughly two-thirds said that the best quality for the best price would make them more loyal. Beyond value, superior customer experience (42%), superior customer service (41%) and purchase rewards (40%) all seem to be of relatively equal importance.
The report highlights some divergences among age groups, particularly related to the youngest respondents. For example, Gen Z respondents (born 1996-2010) showed an above-average inclination to be persuaded to buy more by purchase rewards. Service also seems to be a fulcrum: Gen Z respondents were considerably more likely than Baby Boomers to say that superior customer service would engender loyalty (46% vs. 35%), and were also more likely than average to say that bad customer service would cause them to stop doing business with a brand.
About the Data: The rbb Communications study was conducted by Wakefield Research, which surveyed 1,162 adults nationally between Oct. 5 and Oct. 12, 2016, using an email invitation and online survey. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population ages 18+.