This article was originally published on December 8, 2022 on 

According to a recent survey of 3,000 North American adults, although consumers are more likely to respond to a positive experience, negative experiences could potentially cost businesses more than US$200 billion every year.

Commissioned by Steritech, a food safety and operational assessments company, the survey revealed what customers expect from retail stores they visit daily and how they react if their expectations are not met.

One in four consumers said they will visit a brand less frequently after just one bad experience, 39% said they would never return, and 30% would try to dissuade others from the retailer.

Conversely, more than half (59%) will visit a location more frequently after a positive experience. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents said that they expect a brand to provide the same experience from one store to the next.

Moreover, customers are using online reviews to draw conclusions about brands. According to the survey, 52% of respondents believe online reviews give an accurate representation of an establishment. While consumers are more likely to post an online review about a positive experience (29%) than a negative one (23%), 15% will post something negative on social media after a poor experience, and 20% have left a negative review online.

“Consumer experiences over the past few years have shifted as a result of world events, and with that comes the expectation of a seamless and consistent customer experience supported by strong brand values,” said Doug Sutton, president at Steritech. “This study highlights the value of a positive interaction in a store, which could lead to a happy customer and a supportive online review or social post that benefits the business—but the opposite can cause damage too, so the importance of getting it right every time is crucial.”

For more information about consumers’ use of online reviews and how they can affect a company’s brand, check out Polish Your Online Presence.