Why Bad CX Really is the Last Straw for Customers 

Blog by Carly Read, Senior Reporter at CX Today

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Published: August 27, 2021

Carly Read

Why Bad CX Really is the Last Straw for Customers 

This week, a spat over a straw forced me to make a major life decision. Yep, you read that right. A straw. Lately I’ve been working from coffee shops and typically pick two to work from depending on how I feel when I wake up in the morning. Both will remain nameless, but one – a popular chain can be a tad cold and clinical but is less of a walk in the morning, while the other is an independent, rustic and plays the sort of music I like. I do this because a change of scenery when working remotely is good for the soul and those of us lucky enough to work from home can, on occasion, get a little cabin fever. I went to the chain on the day in question and ordered an espresso and then later, a Coke Zero, which came in a glass bottle. I politely asked for a straw and was huffed at. The barista wasn’t busy and had been texting on her iPhone. I figured I’d give her a break and told her not to worry about the straw as I took the Coke to the table where my laptop sat, but she hissed at me to ‘make my mind up’. I made my point, gathered my things up and marched to the independent coffee house further down the high street.  

‘Double espresso?’ the barista there offered, (she knew I was a regular at that point). I thanked her and she told me to sit down and she’d bring it to me and would take the payment later. When she came over with the drink less than a minute later she told me to ‘holler’ at her next time I want an order to save me queuing up.  

I was so grateful at her kindness I decided two things – the first being I wouldn’t ‘holler’ (call me old-fashioned) and the second was to never return to the chain store again – despite the espresso in the independent place being 30p more expensive.  

Why the story? Well, this was two days before new research found customers are willing to pay 9% more for better customer service. The research was from Puzzel and only cemented the fact that CX expectations are absolutely here to stay as the world opens back up post-COVID.  

The findings, published in Puzzel’s Retail Smart Guide: Tips for delivering smarter shopping experienceswas drawn from a survey commissioned by the company into the shopping opinions and preferences of 1,000 UK consumers in July and also advises how retailers must react to the shifting dynamic.    

Jonathan Allan, Chief Marketing Officer at Puzzel, said: “The pandemic saw almost everything in-store move online and as such, customer behaviours and expectations around the retail experience and customer service changed.  

“Despite largely positive experiences during the pandemic, our research reveals a clear requirement for retailers to deliver more personalised customer service, across a broad range of channels, in-store and online.   

“There’s also a clear appetite for more human experiences, demonstrating the potential value in re-creating that in-store experience across digital platforms. The future of retail is hybrid, and the brands that can provide these smarter, connected experiences, will thrive post-pandemic and beyond.” 

I found many things interesting about the study, but one that stuck out was that Puzzel had called it the Retail ‘Smart’ Guide. To me, the humble customer, offering top quality CX is a no-brainer. Customers want to feel valued. It’s common sense. Had the chain coffee shop realised that sooner rather than later, our relationship probably wouldn’t have come to such a bitter end.  




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