Great advertising can’t help a business with bad or—even just mediocre—customer service. In fact, it could be said that great advertising can put a business with bad customer service out of business faster. Advertising brings people to your store or website, but once they arrive, it’s up to you and your people—or your website content and payment process–to convert them. And that is where your customer service strategy comes into play.
Do You Think Your Company Can Be Successful Without Focusing on Customer Service?
Considering that 66 percent of customers will change providers due to poor service, and 58 percent will never use a company again after a poor customer experience, according to statistics posted by InsightSquared, you might want to think again.
The Problem Is That Many Businesses Are Operating Without a Formal Customer Service Strategy:
Many businesses have been operating without investing much thought into developing their customer service strategy. If your business offers a great product, and most of your employees are pleasant, then you may have been getting away with having an informal customer service model. But imagine how much more your business could grow if you took the time to find out what customers really want, how they want it, and then modeled your customer service strategy around delivering them an exceptional buying experience, every time?
Defining the Good by First Looking at the Bad:
What are the basic foundations of a good customer experience? In order to get to the good, perhaps it’s easier to start by looking at the bad.
The InsightSquared post states that studies show that:
- More than half (53 percent) of customers will leave a company because they don’t feel appreciated.
- A reported 42 percent will leave a company after dealing with rude or unhelpful staff.
- 72 percent of customers who reported having had a bad service experience stated that having to explain their problem to multiple people was, at least in part, to blame for the bad experience.
- The effort that the customer has to expend in order to get their issue resolved seems to be an important component to the question of good and bad customer experiences, with 59 percent of dissatisfied customers in one study referenced by InsightSquared reporting that the effort required for a resolution was “moderate to high.”
So, Who Is Getting Customer Service Right, and What Are They Doing to Make It Good?
According to an op-ed from business coach, Chris Haroun, published by Inc., one can get some great examples of positive customer service by looking at company giants like Amazon, Apple, Salesforce, and Costco.
His findings are as follows:
- Amazon: Sends replacements for lost packages to its customers without questioning the customer or ever implying that the loss was, in any way, the customer’s fault.
- Apple: Provides customers with a staff that is passionate and knowledgeable about the company’s products.
- Salesforce: Operating on the notion that transparency builds trust, the company will publicly disclose in real time when its cloud services are unreliable or down.
- Costco: Offers multi-year return policies on some of its products and provides a digital receipt service, meaning customers who are trying to return a product without a paper receipt can do so effortlessly. Costco also provides reliable fast-food pricing at its stores (who doesn’t appreciate a $1.50 hot dog while they shop) and a trade-in policy on old electronic devices.
Those are some of the things that the big companies are doing. But does the concept of positive customer service apply to smaller companies too? Of course!
In a Forbes report, customer service experience expert, Shep Hyken, states that you only have to look at the independently owned Ace Hardware stores to know that this is true. While Ace Hardware locations tend to be much smaller than other “big box” hardware stores–with less inventory and often without the lowest prices on their merchandise–they continue to thrive in a competitive retail field due to their commitment to positive customer experience.
So, as is the case with Ace Hardware stores, delivering an exceptional customer services experience can be what really sets your business apart from its competitors.
What a Good Customer Service Strategy Can Do:
In a world where customers are engaging and interacting with others via social media, InsightSquared reports that:
- 87 percent of responders to a Zendesk survey stated that they would share their positive customer experience with others.
- 30 percent stated that they will post a positive review of a company’s customer service on social media.
- 69 percent of consumers reported reading positive reviews of a company on social media.
The Flip Side:
A Harvard Business review study found that nearly half (48 percent) of customers who had a negative experience with a company will share that experience with at least 10 people and 45 percent will post a negative review on social media.
Beyond the Social Media Equation, Good Customer Service Simply Equates to More Business:
According to InsightSquared:
- 50 percent of customers in a NewVoice study stated that they would use a company more frequently following a positive customer experience.
- Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of consumers in a RightNow survey stated that they fell in love with a brand due to friendly customer service reps.
- Another 55 percent reported that their love for a brand revolved around the ease in accessing information about that brand’s products.
Good customer service is what elevated Amazon to the position of being the place where many consumers go to shop online, the Inc. editorial states. It’s what led Apple to having the highest sales per square foot of any U.S. retailer, with over $5,000 per square foot per year.
The ability of customers to report their experiences with companies online has led to more focus on customer service by Uber drivers, eBay sellers, the restaurant industry–due to popular review sites like Yelp–and many more, the editorial noted.
The Bottom Line (Literally):
As Haroun notes in his Inc. piece, “a few negative reviews can destroy a brand.” According to the Forbes report, poor customer service costs companies to lose more than $62 billion. In his report, Hyken states that–with more companies taking the need for positive customer experience to heart–some trends are emerging.
Among those trends are the use of big data to understand customer trends and preferences, and the use of human intelligence to translate and implement those trends and preferences in a customer service strategy that provides a better, more personalized experience for the customer.
Additionally, he posits, there is a growing need for companies to shift the focus beyond “customer service” and into the realm of “customer success” (How successful a customer is in using the products offered by a brand is often a great indicator of how satisfied the customer is).
So, while external marketing and advertising is critically important in helping you reach and attract more potential customers, it can only be truly effective when your business is successful at creating consistent and exceptional customer experiences.
Would you like to know more about how to develop a customer service strategy that will survive market challenges?
Contact us today or check in next week for our outline on How to Start Creating a Customer Service Strategy to Improve Customer Acquisition and Retention.