Study: Consumers expect companies to go above and beyond

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Forty-seven percent of consumers said they would trust a brand more if they took care of their employees.

Consumers’ expectations of the companies they do business with have accelerated since the pandemic.

Consumers expect brands to go above and beyond recommended safety standards, according to research from experience management company Qualtrics. The study found that 30% of consumers started purchasing from new brands during the past 18 months because they liked new safety measures that brands adopted, such as curbside pickup or delivery. Conversely, 22% of consumers have stopped shopping with a brand because they felt their health and safety measures were insufficient.

The results underscore a trend among U.S. consumers who expect more of the brands they are doing business with, and who will switch brands if they feel they don’t share their ethical and social values, Qualtrics said.

Consumers not only care about how they are treated, but also how businesses treat their employees. Nearly half (47%) said they would trust a brand more if they took care of their employees, which was just behind taking care of customers (66%).

In other findings, 36% of consumers said they would likely stop purchasing from a brand if they felt disconnected from the company mission, values or stance on societal issues.  And 65% have switched brands because their experiences did not live up to an advertised brand promise, such as “fast delivery” or “great customer service.”

Other findings from the survey are below.

• When asked what factors would cause them to stop purchasing from a brand, 69% said poor customer service – ahead of product quality (50%) or price increases (42%).

• A majority of consumers (78%) look at customer reviews before buying from a new brand. And when considering a new brand, 83% said they were somewhat likely to purchase a new product if it has good reviews – compared to just 16% who said they may still purchase from a brand with poor reviews.

• Two-thirds of consumers said they were at least somewhat likely to purchase a new brand if recommended by a friend, family member or colleague. And more than two-thirds have purchased from a new brand recommended by someone they know in the last year.

“A brand promise needs to be the North Star for every experience an organization delivers,” said Bruce Temkin, head of Qualtrics XM Institute. “Organizations that continuously listen to their customers and employees and find new ways to deliver on their brand promise will create a long-term competitive advantage.”

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