I recently found myself shopping for a new TV. Our old Television had begun to emit an annoying high pitch and would sometimes shut down on its own. We were tired of adjusting the volume. So, we set-off to find a new TV. It was up to me to come across a brand-new model that would perform well. So, it’s Friday night and I had already got online and started my search. Being the nerd that I am, I had been tasked by my wife, with comparing the TVs, cost, and reviews on my phone as we shopped: your customer experience in your twentieth century.

As I walked around from Target, to Costco, then to my local Best Buy, I found myself lost in a loop of customer comments on my phone. The bad kind of feedback. I knew I wanted to purchase a TV today and pick out one. But I was questioning my own initial decisions and experts’ decisions based on user reviews. I even had a friend who recommended a brand and after reading the reviews I was swayed away from it. After all, these people bought the TV and have first-hand experience. Not just in the voice of one person but many. I’d become so stuck in the reviews, I was lost in a comments rabbit hole.

These other buyers had shared their experience. And I was convinced that only a few TV’s out of thousands were worth the risk. These reviews were from one product, at one store. Just one shop of hundreds that sell something like this. This one experience had invoked a wide range of emotion in buyers near and far. And let me tell you, these buyers were serious about their reviews. Nobody was mincing words. I’d even go so far to say that they had been enthusiastic about their responses. Their chosen TV had changed their lives, one way or the other.

Even though I admit again, I had been swayed by individuals I didn’t even know. I took all reviews seriously. The on-line research phase of the customer journey is real folks. More than ever before. I find myself doing the same thing for technology on a business level. Heavily looking at G2Crowd and Capterra. Exploring cheaper tech through FB ads that I have never heard of, to making sure they have clout on G2Crowd and other review sites. I want to see tangible results of a product that people used and their successes and failures. If the successes outweigh the risk, I might take a chance.

So as businesses how do we know when or how to ask for feedback? The direct impact of revenue saved by mastering the customer experience is overwhelming. “What we found: not only is it possible to quantify the impact of customer experience — but the effects are huge.” — “The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified,” Harvard Business Review. Customer experience is no longer optional or a nice to have. People are more demanding, want more personalized experiences, and need to be embraced with their needs and pain points.

“a one-point score improvement in the CX Index can lead to an increase of $65 million in revenue in the upscale hotel industry,” according to Forrester’s Harley Manning. Another study by Newvoicemedia.com found that “US Companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer experience.” These numbers are not small and quite frankly they can cripple a business entirely if not addressed. With all of our hands in social media at any moment of the day, a shared experience good and bad can have a compound impact for years in the future. These experiences are deep and at some moments become emotional for the consumer. To put this in perspective take 5 minutes of your day and go look at the comments thread of a large business on social. It will open your eyes that people want to share their experiences and in most cases are very vocal if it’s a bad one. I remember when my family and I decided to purchase a certain subscription. We loved the idea and used it heavily for 3-4 months. Then they started changing the rules and pricing so we decided we would cancel. I was amazed at the effort it took to cancel our subscription. Unclear direction, unresponsive emails, no phone number to call, the list went on. I realized they had a social Facebook page which I proceeded to go to, hoping I’d get somewhere. I spent the next 45 minutes reading hundreds of bad reviews and comments related to my exact scenario. So, my question to you is, do you think I’ll ever do business with this company again? Not in a million years. Was this because of my bad experience? No, I would eventually get over it. But when I see hundreds of other people have an issue, I start realizing there is a much deeper problem here. One that doesn’t seem to be of concern to them based on the time of these reviews to getting it resolved.

It seems sensible to me we are spoiled digitally, and we will continue to have new technology that offers us better experiences. Will you be a part of that shift? Marketing has changed and companies are no longer able to control the message. The message belongs to the consumer. We’ve moved from the age of info to the age of the consumer.