Belding Study Finds What It Takes to 'Wow'

Consumers like to talk about the experiences they have as customers, and for most people, it's the people that make those interactions memorable, according to a study by The Belding Group

The research, "The Science of WOW--The Formula for Viral Customer Experience," found that experiences consumers are most likely to share primarily involve the people with whom they interact, (92.4 percent). Other factors, such as price, value, product quality, and convenience, play only a minor role in customer conversations.

"In today's tech-based environment, organizations have been heavily focused on improving processes and efficiency," said Shaun Belding, CEO of The Belding Group, a business training and consulting firm, in a statement. "But what this research shows is that it is the people side of things that drives loyalty and brand conversations."

Among some of the study's other findings are the following:

  • 86.7 percent of positive experiences that consumers share with others come from employees taking ownership over situations.
  • Conversely, 93 percent of negative experiences result from employees failing to take ownership. In 82.6 percent of negative experiences, consumers perceive employees just don't care.
  • Service failures are a powerful breeding ground for positive "Wow" experiences. The ability to turn negative situations into positive outcomes is a significant trigger for positive conversations. More than seven in 10 "Wow" experiences begin as negative situations.

"The good news is that companies have more control over the conversations surrounding their brand than they might realize," Belding said. "The more skilled, more empowered and better trained their employees are in customer service and resolving issues, the more likely they are to create positive experiences that people will share in person and on social media."