There are many interesting things that a recent survey uncovered, but I want to focus on one aspect which I think is particularly fascinating and that’s the effects of waiting on brand equity and what is commonly called Net Promoter Score (NPS). In other words, how people answer the question “How likely is it that you would recommend the company to a friend or colleague?”.

What the survey found is that there is a profound negative effect on brand equity when a company shows up just 15 minutes late. That’s all it takes to change the perception of the customer from a 60% satisfaction rate for on time arrival to only 19% satisfied when reps from your company arrive late.

Even if you find a way to overcome the issue of momentary dissatisfaction – the real effect on your brand comes when people were asked the NPS question, i.e. the number of people who would recommend a company to their friends plummets when companies are late to arrive. In fact:

  • 58% of respondents said they would recommend a company with an on-time arrival.
  • However, if the company is just 15 minutes late the number of respondents who said they would recommend the company drops to just 10%.

What does that mean to you?

So much money is spent on acquiring new customers and so much money is spent on creating, maintaining and growing the brand. Yet all of that can go down the drain in one moment: The moment a customer feels disrespected. Especially with the ephemeral issue of time.

I know from my own experience (that instigated the creation of TOA) – when my time is taken for granted, whether it’s waiting on the phone for more than 3 minutes for a customer service rep to answer or waiting at home for hours for an installation, service or delivery appointment – I am unforgiving in my reaction. And I based on the survey results so are the majority of other consumers. And unforgiving means that these consumers will ultimately leave you when they find the first viable alternative. Even if that is not immediately – they will ultimately leave.

And not only will they leave – they will tell everyone about it. And THAT is the biggest problem of all – because telling people that the virus, and it’s contagious – especially in today’s social media driven world where every consumer has a voice. The consumer is your ultimate marketing machine and they can either work for you or against you. Not only will they take their business elsewhere and but they will spread the word and take many others with them.

What’s clear is that adhering to some very simple ideas and a relatively humble investment, can help keep a lot of customers loyal and help you assure a lot of future revenue for the long term. All you need is make sure that you are focusing on what is most important to your customers – their time and their dignity – and you can win.