PTSD: People Traumatized By Service Disappointments


Retail has turned the tables on tradition- Crate & Barrel’s store started serving up food on theirs. That’s because while people aren’t looking for more furniture every week, they’ve gotta eat and might as well take their seat.

In a previous article, we explored such retail-driven experiences. But today we make this case: careful planning and monitoring are needed to make these experience-adds worthwhile. 

See, when retailers provide experiences, they enter the world of hospitality.
That’s the home of the original 5-star ratings! People will share opinions- that’s showbiz, baby. 

Shep Hyken cautions that “We train our customers to expect great service, so when customers don’t get it, they complain. Don’t promise something you can’t deliver.”

With bad customer service leading to an annual loss of over $62 billion in the US alone, one can see the compounding effect of negative experiences. These disappointments can often lead to bad cases of PTSD (Person Traumatized by Service Douchery, we mean, Dissapointments). 

Retail Wire’s George Anderson lays out the stats behind the epidemic: 

  • 48% of consumers have left a negative review online, 73% of those have done so in the past year.
  • 79% said they would be “very” or “somewhat likely” to leave a negative review after bad customer service. 
  • 41% say they have not gone online to express their unhappiness, but almost two-thirds of those regret not having done so.
  • 62% say they see how many stars a business has before making a purchase, showing that shopper opinions are what give you credibility. 
  • 45% say they have shared a bad experience with others by traditional word-of-mouth. 

With stats like these, undertaking a new concept can be scary. However, with great risk comes great reward:  Bain & Company reports that the experience economy is projected to grow to $8 trillion by 2030

And besides, feedback is good for your business. Because even when it’s not a resounding “encore”, it can help you get there. 

Retail thought leader Ananda Chakravarty paints the bigger picture on this. “Given that the average American buys 65 garments per year (and that’s just garments — a tiny % of their 300,000 items owned), the 48% that file at least a single complaint a year doesn’t amount to much feedback…Those that give it care enough about the brand to make it better or enough about the experience to share immense frustration…Most customers don’t have the time or interest to complain to others, they will vote with their wallets first.”

With that in mind, one must remember that negative reviews are not the only means to improve the customer experience.We’re here to tell you that analytics will help you do the necessary backstage work to keep the show on the road. 

Author Mark Ryski shared that “the most egregious reviews tend to be the ones that describe profound lapses in basic customer service – till lines a mile long, disrespectful staff interactions or store cleanliness/organization.” 

Retailers will benefit from investing in an analytics solution to notice these unfavorable patterns immediately. 

Insights will show you how to improve staffing levels in order to minimize queuing and to ensure there are associates present who can address complaints timeously so that customers won’t have to go online to be heard. Insights also indicate when and how to optimize store organization.

With a comprehensive set of metrics set against the customer journey, has been designed to help you to read the room and tailor your performance accordingly.

Do you want your store to receive better reviews?