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Thunderhead-Biggest-Mistakes-Companies-Make-With-Customers-Apr2014American consumers don’t feel that their relationships with businesses are improving, according to a new study [download page] from Thunderhead.com. Among the intriguing study findings: one-quarter of customers would switch to a different provider on the basis of a single negative experience, and about 1 in 5 would never re-establish trust in a provider after a significant negative experience. Respondents to the study seem particularly irked by overbearing and irrelevant communications, as well as slow response times.

Indeed, some 45% would definitely or consider changing a provider as a result of receiving communications they consider an invasion of their privacy, while 30% share that sentiment about receiving information that is inaccurately targeted, 29% about receiving excessive volumes of communication, and 28% about being treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. Only 1 in 5 or fewer wouldn’t have some type of negative response to these mistakes.

Those results bring to mind findings from a Janrain study released earlier this year, in which almost all respondents claimed to have received information or promotions not relevant to them, with more than 9 in 10 developing an unfavorable attitude to the company or taking some kind of action to limit the messaging in response.

Meanwhile, more than 9 in 10 respondents to the Thunderhead.com study would have an unfavorable reaction to companies responding too slowly to their inquiries. They might want to consider a platform other than Facebook if they’re looking for quick responses…

The results are the latest in a string of research pieces indicating that brands are failing to adequately engage consumers. A study by Responsys found about one-third of consumers claiming to have “broken up” with a brand due to receiving poor, disruptive or irrelevant marketing messages. And late last year, an Edelman study discovered that few consumers feel connected with brands.

Overall, just 41% of customers responding to the Thunderhead.com study feel that they even have a relationship with their suppliers, and only an additional 15% would like one. In order to foster better relationships with their customers, businesses should focus on better communications and offering more value, per the report. That’s because 84% of customers have a positive impression of businesses that communicate with customers in the channel of their preference, and 82% feel favorable towards information and deals presented to them at exactly the right time.

About the Data: The data is based on interviews conducted by Populus among 2,026 adults (18+) online in the USA between 11 and 18 September 2013. Results have been weighted to be representative of all US adults.

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