Everyone knows how important customer service is for business. Timeless clichés like “The customer’s always right” have ingrained its importance in the minds of CEOs and company founders across all industries. What’s been a mystery, however, are the quantifiable effects of poor customer service and the best practices to remedy department shortcomings.
Recent studies highlighting customer experiences have shed a bit of light on these points. Follow along to see what makes an enjoyable customer experience.
The Price of Poor Customer Service
Putting a value on any service is a tricky proposition. The same is especially true for customer service, as the main goal seems to be alleviating customer concerns rather than driving revenue. But high-quality customer service can generate revenue almost as much as a well-written sales pitch:
- According to a recent Harvard Business Review study, a 5% reduction in customer defections (the loss of disappointed customers) can increase profits by 25 to 85%.
Furthermore, a Forrester study found that poor service can also cost a business money in lost customers and revenue:
- Nearly half of online consumers (45%) will abandon a purchase if they cannot find quick answers to product questions.
In addition to lost revenue, poor service can also taint a company’s reputation. And in today’s digital age of viral media and social connectivity, one bad review could derail the growth of a business:
- Of the 57% of respondents who said they’ve experienced poor customer service in the past 12 months, 27% vented their frustration via online social channels.
With these stats in mind, let’s take a look at consumer attitudes toward customer service.
What Customers Look For
In general, customers aren’t looking for service reps to hold their hands throughout the entire buying process. The rise of the internet has introduced a more informed consumer, and Forrester’s survey points out that 67% of consumers perform their own online research to alleviate buying concerns. But the survey also shows that consumers want quick and easy access to service when needed:
- 66% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a business can do to provide good service.
Accessibility is likewise a factor in good customer service. Having multiples channels through which a customer can reach your service department goes a long way to pleasing and retaining customers. According to Forrester, three quarters of consumers will try multiple channels to reach a service department. This is even more evident in the ever-evolving mobile space:
- In a recent BearingPoint survey, companies with mobile customer-relationship services saw a 60% increase in customer satisfaction, a 30% increase in sales and a 30% increase in productivity.
While handling complaints and answering questions is a big part of customer service, producing a stress-free and timely experience is equally important to making sales and retaining customers. If possible, be sure to provide access to service departments via email, phone, text, social media and other channels to ensure you’re readily available to manage concerns. If that’s impractical for your situation, try to find a low-cost CRM that can provide some—if not all—of these services. Most of all, be sure to hire a team of professionals that strives to enhance the consumer experience and respects your customers’ time and concerns.