Trade Leader’s Guide: Where in the Customer Journey stands the ADR - Part 1

Let's first clarify what Customer Journey is for those who don't know.

Customer Journey or the customer's path to the company and its products and services.

Customer Journey or customer path are the stages the consumer goes through in connection with a purchase. Usually, the customer does not decide to buy an item as soon as he learns about it, but looks at the product or brand several times, researches potential traders from which to get it before taking action. These moments are called points of contact and his buying path passes through them.

At one of these points of contact, the customer browses the websites of traders and finds out how his rights are protected in case he remains dissatisfied with his purchase. At this point, it is very important whether she easily finds the information she needs. Apart from the fact that they are obliged by law to submit a link to the CPC and the ODR platform of the European Union, traders could clarify in a little more detail what the steps are, to encourage their customers to use the ADR mechanism, i.e. alternative dispute resolution, instead of first filing a complaint to the CPC that they are ready to negotiate and seek a solution to the problem.

Why is this necessary?

According to data from 2019. of Bulgarian National Statistics Institute, some of the most common problems when buying goods and services online are:

  • 8.7% of Bulgarians between the ages of 17 and 74 believe that the delivery time is longer than expected. Related to a base of 1,156,000 people who have shopped online in the last 12 months, this equates to approximately 100,000 people.
  • 3%, or about 35 thousand people, thought that the final costs were higher than indicated.
  • At 4.6%, i.e. 54 thousand people, were delivered wrong or damaged goods.
  • 1.8% or nearly 20,800 people have difficulty filing a complaint and claiming compensation or receive an unsatisfactory response after a complaint is filed
  • Among people who refuse to shop online, 4.3%, nearly 50,000 do so because they have concerns about receiving or returning goods, filing a complaint or claiming compensation.

As can be seen, for 50,000 people in Bulgaria, the opportunity to file an easy complaint and seek compensation plays a role in making a purchase decision. All these are occasions for the consumer to experience the so-called post-purchase dissonance. This means that he doubts his reasonable choice to buy. The presence of such post-purchase dissonance stimulates him to try correcting the mistake or to prevent it from being made in the future. Some customers choose to change the dealer or product. Others decide to notify the company of their dissatisfaction and file a complaint with it, orally or in writing. The role of the company here is to respond appropriately to the complaint so as to reduce this dissonance. The result of communication between the two parties can be:

  • Achieving such a level of customer satisfaction so that he remains loyal and faithful to the company and products, and even becomes a loyal customer and evangelist.
  • To change the company with another, to stop using this type of products or services, and if his dissatisfaction is very strong, to file a complaint to the CPC, which means a final rupture of the relationship between trader and consumer. In this development, the above diagram will be interrupted before the purple dot, i.e. this means that the company has not made an attempt to direct its client to an ADR procedure where he can unequivocally show his desire to seek a solution to the problem.

What factors influence the post-purchase dissonance and how it influences the customer's decision to purchase will be clarified in the next Part 2 of this publication.

Also read the publication from the Handbook for Leaders, ADR in the Customer Experience section. Follow the next publications from this series, dedicated to the best practices in dealing with complaints, from the section "Trade Leaders' Guide" on the NEWS page of, as well as in the profiles of NAIS on LinkedIn and Facebook. In the next publication we will look at the problems related to technical systems, process management and the delegation of rights and responsibilities, or in short, problems related to the internal organization.


 “Consumer Behavior. Building Marketing Strategies.”, 11th edition, Del I. Hawkins, University of Oregon,  David L. Mothersbaugh, University of Alabama

Published on 09.11.2021 Back to news