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The reason negative word of mouth kills Service brands

The interest in design has increased markedly within both consumers and organisations over the past decade. Where it was once the domain of a select group, everyone now wants well-designed products. And for good reason too, in an extensive study by CEB Research of over 100,000 customers all across the world, they found that a Positive Product Experience produced 71% positive World of Mouth and only 32% Negative World of Mouth.

What was even more interesting was the finding for the Services. For those customers who had a positive service experience, it only generated 25% positive Word of Mouth. The even more staggering statistic was that a negative Service Experience generated a whopping 65% negative word of mouth!

Why the startling difference. When it comes to a positive product experience, word of mouth usually comes in the form of a recommendation: “Hey you should check out this cool new phone I bought or you should try this great new restaurant!” When we find something great, we like to tell other people about it, it shows how clever we are.

On the other hand, when it comes to Service, people, as we can see from the research, are much more likely to tell many more people about the negative service experience. The reasoning is, as humans when something bad happens to us, we tell others to evoke their sympathy. “You won’t believe how they treated me, they were rude to me”. The usual response as we all know is to support our friend and agree how awful that experience must have been for them.

What this tells us is that we pick companies because of their products, but we often leave them because of their service failures.

Learn more about "The Effortless Experience" by Matthew Dixon here.

Diagram of the effect of word of mouth on product experience from The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon

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