It used to be that people established tight, ongoing relationships with more than just other people – in fact, these kinds of unique relationships often extended to companies and their products. Take, for example, my parents, who’ve only owned Ford vehicles since I was born. It’s a relationship that goes back at least a generation to when a close friend of the family owned a Ford dealership.
Chances are there are still people out there who have this kind of a unique bond with a few select organizations. But it would appear these types of relationships are fading. In fact, new research shows that Canadians are “ghosting” – or quietly ending – their relationships with companies after giving little to no warning. In essence, it means firms both big and small have a short leash on their customers.
That’s the finding of Accenture, which recently released its Global Consumer Pulse Research Report. Accenture, a multinational management consulting services firm, asked 1,334 Canadians about the actions they take when they became disillusioned with a company. Nearly half (49-percent) of the respondents said they’d switched banks, cable and satellite providers, retail firms, or phone companies as a result of receiving customer service deemed less than acceptable.
On top of that, more than two-thirds of respondents (68-percent) said they’d never go back to a company once they’d left. That’s like a Rogers customer swearing off the massive telecommunications company after becoming angry over a smartphone service bill, thereby committing to use one of its competitors (such as Telus or Bell).
Interestingly, the Accenture study revealed that few Canadians would ever go public with their anger. In fact, less than one in five (17-percent) said they’d post a bad review of the company on the Internet. By comparison, about one in four people from other countries said they’d post that kind of review.
Berkeley Warburton, a managing editor at Accenture Strategy, says this is part of the Canadian character and something companies need to recognize when they market their products in the Great White North.
“We are quieter and more polite as a culture,” Warburton said.
“We might quietly sip away at that corked bottle of wine without saying anything. Our friends south of the border would be more likely to send it back. What we do is just never go back to that restaurant.”