Everyone makes mistakes. It’s part of human nature. But what happens when your business or organization makes a boo-boo? Do your customers forgive you completely?

Well, according to a new study by Blis, most U.S. customers are unforgiving when you screw up!!

One point to note… the study entitled, Consumer Hierarchy of Needs, included consumers, not business customers, but who knows? The things that annoy consumers may very well annoy business buyers as well.

Let’s look at some of the details.

Firstly, there’s good news: 52% of respondents say they’re more loyal to brands today than they were five years ago. And would you believe that women appear to be significantly less brand-loyal than men?

How many chances will customers give you when you make a mistake?

Get this: The wealthier the customers, the more likely they are to ditch your brand. Ouch!

“The higher the consumer household income, the more likely they are to ditch a brand. 36% of consumers surveyed with an household income under $25,000 are willing to give brands multiple chances whereas 54% of consumers making between $75,000 and $200,000 are less willing to forgive.” (quoted in MarketingLand)

So, what ticks off your customers?

You’ll notice immediately that there are ubiquitous complaints such as bad or unresponsive customer service and underperforming products. Another one that many customers find annoying is over-communication. How many “unsubscribes” do you get for your emails? That may give you a clue.

The one that leaves us with a question mark is the balance between personalization and privacy concerns. Some customers appreciate the personalization you give them while others find it intrusive and think you’re spying on them.

My take:

The one takeaway here, I believe, is to ensure that your business or organization puts its customers at the center of everything it does. Less errors, less attrition. It’s that simple.

And, when a mistake happens (and it will), apologize, fix it quickly, and offer customers something for their inconvenience. Oh, and don’t let it happen again.

Small pitch: Get a copy of my book, Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success for guidance on this very topic!

What do you do when you screw up?

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