What is it that makes customers happy? And what’s a happy customer worth? 76 percent of UK consumers say having a positive customer experience with a brand is more important than the actual product itself, according to the results of a new Harris Poll study of 1,000 UK adults, commissioned by Lithium Technologies.

And, they are willing to spend a quarter of their disposable income – £50 per month – with brands they love based on great customer experience. That’s over £2.5 billion up for grabs every month to brands who make their customers happy.

Brits Value Experience over Product

Brands work relentlessly on product design and features, but today’s consumer increasingly values how a brand treats them as more important than the product they actually sell. The study found that, in the UK, 41 percent of consumers would rather buy an inferior product from a brand that they had a great experience with, and 68 percent would be willing to spend more on a product if it was from a brand they love.

This works both ways, with 76 percent unlikely to ever use a brand again after a single bad experience. Worse still, 57 percent would actively share their negative experience with friends and family, potentially leading even more customers to flee.

“Customers’ increasingly high expectations of brands have reached a critical point,” said Rob Tarkoff, president and CEO of Lithium Technologies.

“When three quarters of consumers say they are unwilling to stick with a brand that has treated them badly even if they love the brand’s products, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Businesses need to dig deeper to understand not only what delights customers, but also how they can create awesome experiences for them across platforms – anywhere the customer is.”

So What’s A Brand To Do?

Brands can no longer dictate terms. They must connect with the customer in the location of their choosing, which is increasingly on digital channels. The study also revealed that more than one in four (27 percent) consumers prefer to engage with a brand via its website/blog/social channels, and 60 percent classify a brand ignoring them on social channels as a “bad experience”.

“This study shows that as consumers reach out on digital channels, they are highly sensitive to how and when brands respond to them,” said Tarkoff.

“It’s a wakeup call for brands to realise that providing great experiences on digital is the surest path to attracting and retaining happy customers.”

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