Negative reviews online costing businesses $200 billion per year

A new survey of 3,000 North American adults revealed the potential costs of a positive or negative customer experience for food and retail brands. According to the survey, although consumers are more likely to respond to a positive experience, negative experiences could potentially cost North American businesses more than $200 billion every year.

The survey was commissioned by Steritech, leaders in food safety and operational assessments, and revealed what customers expect from the convenience stores, grocery stores and other retail outlets they visit daily, and how they react if their expectations are not met.

"Consumer experiences over the past few years have shifted as a result of world events, and with that comes the expectation of a seamless and consistent customer experience supported by strong brand values,” said Doug Sutton, President at Steritech. “This study highlights the value of a positive interaction in a store which could lead to a happy customer and a supportive online review or social post that benefits the business, but the opposite can cause damage too, so the importance of getting it right every time is crucial.”

The findings identified what factors consumers value most and how their experience can influence behaviors. Top-level findings include:

  • Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents say that they expect a brand to provide the same experience from one store to the next.

  • One in four consumers will visit a brand less frequently after one bad experience; conversely, more than half (59%) will visit a location more frequently after a positive experience.

  • 52% of respondents believe online reviews give an accurate representation of an establishment.

  • Consumers are more likely to post an online review about a positive experience (29%) than a negative one (23%).

As the digital age continues to evolve, digital channels have become a popular method for consumers to amplify their experiences, both good and bad. Today's buyers can broadcast their experiences to wider audiences with a simple click of a button.

The survey demonstrates the importance of well-rounded experiences, curated for different types of stores, and the impact these experiences have on customer loyalty. To reap the rewards of increased sales, customer loyalty and brand perception, retailers would be well-served to focus on crafting experiences that meet and exceed their customers' expectations.

To access the full study go to,, or visit the Steritech website for more ways to improve brand experience and customer loyalty.


For more than 35 years, Steritech has been an industry leader and pioneer in providing best-in-class assessments and consulting services to companies to mitigate risks, drive operational consistency and help multi-location businesses accelerate growth.

With the experience gained as a pioneer in the food safety arena, Steritech strategically partners with multi-location businesses on delivering their ideal brand experience every time, everywhere. Through on-site coaching paired with robust data insights and reporting, Steritech helps close performance-impacting gaps to create customer experiences that drive growth, promote loyalty and trust, protect people and reduce risk.

Steritech employs more than 430 full-time Specialists across the United States and Canada. These experts are trained to understand and assess a brand’s specific standards to provide insights to help close performance gaps and drive growth. Steritech is part of Rentokil North America, a leading business services company, operating across the United States and Canada.

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