Customer service is the human representation of your brand. As such, it is important to remember that your company consists of human interactions. Every sale, enquiry and dispute involves a customer and an employee interacting in one way or another. It is these interactions that really solidify the relationship between your business and your customer. Branding is the ‘talk’ and customer service is the ‘walk’ of your business. Good customer service will verify the claims made by your marketing campaign. Bad customer service will create a significant impact on the trust between you and your customer.
If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Customer service is very similar to a personal friendship, in the sense that loyalty is built upon mutual respect between each of the people. When one person begins to act in a disrespectful way, the other person has less of a reason to remain a loyal friend. Just one major act of disrespect may be enough to sever the entire friendship. Customer service is no different in this respect.
A study by the RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report says 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. Combine this with the fact that it is 6-7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer (White House Office of Consumer Affairs), and the value of customer service begins to become evident. Intuitively it could be thought that lowering sales prices could remedy the effects of poor customer service. It makes sense, people like a good deal right? A new study by Bain & Co challenges this idea, stating that a customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related vs. price or product related.
Shhh! Don’t tell
According to the 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer, consumers are double as likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences. We all know why this is the case - there’s nothing that people love more than to have a good whinge. Bad flying experiences are probably number one on the whinge list, but a close second are bad customer service experiences
A customer service encounter rarely ends with only the person involved - it can spread from person to person. In the age of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, someone’s bad experience can be like a virus that infects your potential customers. Once the damage is done, it can be hard to recover. A Defaqto Research study suggests that it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one bad customer experience. This is a prime example of how fickle consumers can be. A great customer service team can save your business from an onslaught of negativity from disgruntled customers.
We hope this shows the importance of great customer service. It is important to be able to look at your business from a consumer’s perspective. To get an idea of how important customer service is on a personal level, think about how negative customer service experiences have affected you in the past. Look at what the company could have done better, and at how you felt throughout the experience. Then take this knowledge and apply it to your on customer service system.
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