3 Hard Truths About Neglected Customers


One-third of customers have experienced neglect at the hands of online retailers. Take a closer look at the many forms of neglect in the NOW era… and how customer neglect is impacting your business.

Nobody in business sets out to neglect customers. No CX leader starts their day thinking: “Who can I neglect today?” 

However, considering the proliferation of the NOW customer and massive shift from in-person to digital shopping experiences… businesses have a glaring customer neglect problem. 

And it’s costing them millions.

In a recent Simplr survey, we found that one-third of customers have experienced being ignored or left hanging by an online retailer. That’s… a lot of customers. To get to the bottom of the customer neglect, let’s take a closer look at what’s fueling it, and how companies can stop it from happening in the first place. 

What is customer neglect?

Put simply, customer neglect happens when a customer is actively ignored by people who work at the business they’re trying to engage with. In a traditional retail setting, this would involve not answering a customer’s in-person questions, or, if by phone, putting them on hold for an eternity.

Today, customer neglect has become much more nuanced. 

Customer neglect still means a customer is being ignored, but it’s happening across a much wider (and more complicated) spectrum of customer experiences: delayed email responses, lack of live chat, unanswered social media DMs, full voicemail boxes, frustrated Yelp reviews, and so on.

Whichever form customer neglect is taking, one thing is painfully clear: an ignored customer is  likely to never buy from you again.

Do you really know where you stand with your customers?

Maybe you think that neglecting customers isn’t an issue for your company. You may point to your “good-to-very-good” Customer Satisfaction Scores and NPS ratings. But those metrics rarely tell the whole story, especially when they linger in the “good enough” and not “exceptional” ranges. (Oh, and these are also considered “vanity metrics” by the majority of eCommerce CX leaders). 

In fact, for every customer who leaves an NPS rating, 10 customers tell you nothing. Nada. That’s 10 people who had an experience with your brand, and you have no idea whether they loved it, hated it, or didn’t really care either way. 

We like to depict those “Silent Ten” on an iceberg: They’re hidden, and they can do a massive amount of damage if you aren’t careful. 

Your risk lies in what you don’t know about the customers who don’t give you feedback. Who could they be? Think about what you’re missing out by not knowing those 10 customers:

  • According to American Express, Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor customer service experience. If those neglected customers were unhappy, they’re likely spreading their disdain underneath your radar. 
  • What if they were hidden superfans? This customer may not be a vocal reviewer or take to social media to share their love, but they have all the (quiet) makings of a brand advocate. Are you neglecting to recognize and engage this customer and make the most of their fandom? 

Here are some ways to avoid neglecting the ten neglected customers who didn’t give you feedback:

  • Avoid using CSAT or NPS as the end-all metric for customer satisfaction. Metrics such as First Response Time and Rate of Repurchase paint a much clearer picture of where you stand with your customer base.
  • Invest in live chat solutions that actively engage your customers in the moment. A customer may not rate an experience, but they just may engage with a human chat!

Customer neglect is happening 24/7 

Online shoppers are on your site or app at all hours of the day. You’re bound to “neglect” some in the process, but few businesses understand how dire it is to repeatedly miss NOW customers in the moment… day after day (and night after night).

According to Shopify, peak browsing time for online shoppers is 5pm-12am EST. Neglecting to have a knockout strategy for engaging those customers (such as  human-staffed live chat)  is a surefire way to make those customers feel — you guessed it — neglected.

If they’re not able to get an answer to a pre-sale inquiry in the evening hours, they risk getting distracted and not finishing the purchase or, worse, jumping over to a competitor’s site. What are they taking with them? Consider this:

  • Customers who are engaged by a brand are 90% more likely to make a purchase.

A brick-and-mortar store wouldn’t pull all staff away from their highest-traffic hours… Why should online businesses?

WATCH NOW: From Ignoring to Engaging: How to Give Your NOW Customers What They Want

Customer neglect is costing you… big time

The exponential missed revenue of neglecting NOW customers is too big to ignore.

The NOW customer is heavily influenced by people in their own network and by genuine online reviews from strangers. In that vein, according to Qualtrics, 94% of consumers say a negative online review has convinced them to avoid a business. 

That can pose some serious damage to a business that is actively (albeit unknowingly) neglecting customers with slow response times, lack of overnight staffing, and insufficient engagement. What would your CEO say?

On the flip side, NOW customers love talking about great customer experiences, too. 

According to Motistacustomers who feel an emotional connection with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value and will recommend that brand 26% more than the average. The potential revenue a non-neglected customer could bring to a business over the course of a lifetime is exponential.

Don’t fall prey to unchecked neglect

Unchecked, customer neglect can be a potentially multi-million-dollar problem for online businesses. There are currently more ways than ever to neglect a customer as the demands of the NOW customer gets more demanding and companies expand their online presence. 

Ever wondered if you’re neglecting too many customers? Contact Simplr today for a customer neglect assessment and ideas on how to eradicate neglect.