Customer service is one of those activities that many business owners feel they have to have for appearances – rather than for income generation. While a robust customer service experience is a “must have” for any business, this department can actually pay for itself.
Customer Service Statistics
When exploring the idea of forming, improving, or expanding a customer service department, many businesses want to know if their efforts will pay off. Because ROI is so important, many companies have done studies on the value of a great service experience. Here are a few of the more recent statistics regarding the value of customer service:
- Accenture’s 2017 report tells us that 52% of consumers switched providers last year because of poor customer service.
- American Express’ 2014 Global Service Barometer tells us that 74% of consumers have spent more with a company because it has provided good service experiences in the past.
- The same American Express study also shows that 68% of consumers are willing to spend more with a company which they believe will provide excellent customer service. This percentage has risen by 2% since 2012.
- Zendesk reports that 24% of customers will continue to use or seek out the same vendor for 2 or more years if they have had a good customer experience.
- The same report says that 87% of customers will share a good experience, while 95% will share a bad one.
- Finally, there is one metric that has become general knowledge. That is: it costs more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing ones. Different studies focussing on various businesses indicate varying costs, but all agree that retention is much less costly and often more profitable than acquisition.
There is also very contemporary anecdotal evidence that poor customer service can harm your business in the long run. The recent public relations nightmare that United Airlines has gone through could have been prevented or at least offset by excellent customer service. Instead, people are coming out of the woodwork with stories of unfair treatment or inadequate treatment by United. These stories caused a huge dip in company value – as shown by stock prices – from which the company has yet to recover fully.
*Note: If you would like to do a deeper dive into the metrics listed above, we have linked to our sources at the end of this article for your convenience.
Great Customer Service: A Way to Stand Out From the Rest
The above statistics make it pretty clear that a robust customer service department can not only save you money but make you money as long-time customers upgrade their products or buy new services. The next question is, what do consumers feel makes a “great customer service department?”
The 2017 Accenture study can help answer part of this question. In it, it was found that 83% of consumers would like to deal with a live person, while 73% of consumers get irritated when providers do not offer convenient methods of interaction.
Providing both human interaction and convenience is a tough balance to strike, but many companies achieve this balance and maintain a fantastic reputation. In 2016, these companies included Amazon, Apple, Chick-Fil-A, Marriott, Samsung, and Sony.
You can emulate these companies and gain your own excellent customer service record by providing these five interactions with your customers:
1. Provide a phone number to call.
Many online and offline companies have a tendency to bury the number customers should call when they need to talk to someone. While we understand that staffing a customer service department can be expensive, it’s also costly to lose a client because they simply couldn’t find out where to call. Instead of being difficult to contact, be as transparent as possible with your customer service number clearly stated on your website.
2. Set up in-person chat.
One way in which many companies are achieving the human touch in customer service while also being extremely convenient is by providing online chat with a real person. Amazon, in particular, has a reputation of providing a stellar chat experience to its customers.
3. Have an email to which your team will respond within 24 hours.
Email is often the resort of people who cannot find an easier way to contact your company, but it’s also an excellent way to handle customers that only want to be heard. The biggest problem with email, however, is that it can pile up and people can become frustrated with a slow response time. Make sure that your customer service department is handling email within 24 hours – max.
4. Cultivate a proactive social media experience.
Many customers will bring their complaints to social media. This can really harm a company’s reputation if the complaints are not sorted out almost immediately – while the customer is still online. It’s important to have a proactive customer service support team that checks social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and more. This team is often different than your social media manager, so be sure that your staff is completely on top of handling customer complaints on social media – before they begin to trend or go viral.
5. Provide excellent service at your physical location.
Brick-and-mortar locations often have pretty good customer service. However, some sites seem to feel as if they are immune to this necessity. We have recently seen this among airlines in particular. No matter your industry, train those people at the front lines in providing excellent customer service. These are positions like receptionists, flight attendants, and store managers – whose immediate actions will reflect upon your entire company.
Keeping and growing an excellent reputation as a first-rate provider of customer service is a wonderful way to retain customers and cultivate new ones through reputation alone.
Are you looking for new ways to grow your business? Contact us today! We provide business consulting on all levels, from financial consulting to executive coaching, the Business Success Consulting Group is here for you.