PhotoCompanies go out of their way to survey customers and make sure they’re happy, but a new report from Oracle suggests they still have a long way to go.

“Upset and disappointed” is how the study characterizes a sizable segment of consumers when they interact with top brands. Researchers discovered that 43 percent of consumers had “blacklisted” brands that failed to meet their expectations.

"Relationships between brands and consumers begin when a customer has faith in a company and that trust must be constantly earned – it cannot be bought and can be easily lost," said Jeanne Bliss, a customer experience specialist whose company partnered with Oracle in the study. 

Go the extra mile

Bliss cited research which shows that consumers gravitate to brands that go the extra mile to deliver personalized experiences, but many are willing to take decisive action when their expectations are not met. It’s great to follow up with a customer with a survey, but it doesn’t help that much if the results are ignored.

“The key takeaway here is that one size doesn't fit all and if you invest in customer experience, your customers will invest in you," Bliss said.

The reverse is also true. A bad experience can send consumers to social media to vent their frustration in public. Whether justified or not, a bad review can be costly for a brand, especially if other consumers begin to see a pattern.

The survey suggests that either brands aren’t doing a very good job of pleasing consumers or consumers are becoming increasingly hard to please. Eighty-two percent of consumers in the survey said they have had at least one bad experience with a company with which they were doing business. Seventy-eight percent said they’ve had an experience where they weren’t satisfied.

Unhappy consumers react

When brands fall short, consumers don’t hesitate to react. In addition to those who said they have blacklisted a brand, 34 percent said they would abandon a brand after just one bad experience.

Unfortunately, only 35 percent of consumers say they contact the business with their complaint and give the company a chance to resolve the issue. On the other hand, 88 percent share their negative experiences with others.

Many consumers would rather not interact with a brand’s customer service, with nearly one in five comparing that interaction to going to the dentist. 

So, what do consumers want? The study found more than half want personalized service and are willing to pay more and share personal information to get it. They also expect flexibility and freedom to subscribe to products and services, and the ability to cancel or return products or services for free that don't meet expectations. 

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