New survey data reveals that businesses might be taking a hit when it comes to consumers holding grudges. In fact, as e-commerce continues to grow in popularity, consumers are more apt to hold more grudges against businesses than a person.
The Helping Hands survey, conducted by Trustpilot, polled 2,000 U.S. adults on the power of grudges to better understand consumer psychology behind grudges and how businesses can solve them with constructive communication.
Surprisingly, despite the slogan “Midwest nice,” Trustpilot found in its survey that consumers in the Midwest were the biggest grudge-holders against businesses that did not meet expectations. Just over 60 percent of U.S. adults from this region also said they do not regret holding a grudge while another 60 percent said they do not believe they are “quick to hold a grudge.”
Still, a surprising amount of overall consumers across the country are holding grudges as well — 63 percent of respondents told the company they have held a grudge against a business following a poor experience and a third of all respondents admitted they tend to be rash when posting messages, comments or reviews online. In part, the company said this is due to consumers having an easier time forgetting that there are “real people” running businesses when they engage online with a third of respondents admitting they have experienced this.
A majority of consumers also admitted, however, that they recognize holding a grudge is bad for a person’s mental health and have looked for solutions to overcome the action.
With regard to consumer psychology as it relates to the findings of Trustpilot’s data, Scott Rick, associate professor of marketing at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business for Helping Hands, said not all grudges are bad and can actually encourage better behavior.
“When you imagine someone ‘holding a grudge,’ you probably envision a person fuming, distracted and stomping around,” said Rick. “It’s not a pretty picture, but not all grudges are bad. Some are rational and even good for society. The fear of someone holding a grudge against you can sometimes encourage better behavior. The key is to recognize when the psychological punishment doesn’t fit the crime — when people can’t shake bad feelings that they know they should ‘just get over.’ Businesses and consumers who feel wronged by businesses both need to be on the lookout for this and think about how to mitigate these feelings.”
Meanwhile, Trustpoint’s findings showed that there is hope for businesses to win consumers back. When a business disappoints a customer they need to listen, respond and make improvements to address the raised concerns. The survey found that 60 percent of consumers feel a business has been able to change an opinion from bad to good following an experience in a variety of ways.
“In today’s world, conversations online move quickly and we can often type before we think,” said Carolyn Jameson, chief trust officer at Trustpilot. “When it comes to discussions between consumers and businesses, we’re keen to remind everyone to take a moment and remember how valuable that feedback can be — it’s important to communicate in a considered way.”
Consumers agreed that businesses can earn good favor back by listening to feedback and informing the customer that it has helped them make improvements, taking quick and decisive action to fix a problem, giving a customer a sincere apology or giving a refund or discount.
“In contrast to other parts of the internet, reviews on Trustpilot allow for a simplified, public conversation that is open for everyone to see,” said Jameson. “Feedback which is constructive, whether positive or negative, helps people shop with more confidence and businesses learn how to do better. Consumers also have the option to go back at any time and update their review, should their experience with the business have changed — whether positively or negatively. Businesses on our platform also have the opportunity to respond publicly, to reassure consumers that they listen and care about what their customers have to say.”
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