As a business person, you undoubtedly understand the importance of good customer service. So why, then, is poor customer service still costing companies about $75 billion annually?
This figure doesn’t necessarily suggest that businesses are becoming worse at customer service. In fact, we have more opportunities now than ever before to interact with customers and ensure that they’re fully satisfied with any given product or service. What this figure does point to is just how strongly customers judge their interactions with a business today, and how much more important these interactions are than they may have been ten years ago.
The bottom line is that there is no longer any excuse for bad service, ever.
The array of choice that customers face today is unprecedented. Additionally, companies are able to leverage disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence in order to deliver more personalised and immediate experiences. Customers have grown to expect this superior experience from any business they engage with, and if you can’t deliver it, they’ll switch to someone else who can.
Research has found that 76% of customers now report that it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere — switching from brand to brand to find an experience that matches their expectations.
The stakes are higher than ever.
It’s often difficult to differentiate yourself as a business in terms of product or service offerings. However, the way in which you treat customers and potential customers can separate you from the competition – leading to customer acquisition, retention, and ultimately, more money in the bank.
Consider your own favourite coffee shop. If you have one, why is it that you keep going back?
While it may be that you truly think they have the best coffee, or it’s simply the closest one to your home, you’re likely comforted by the fact that you had a good experience there. You probably continue to go back because you’re treated well by the people that work there, maybe the staff remember your order or your name, or throw in a free pastry every now and then. It’s this solid customer service that leads to a more satisfying customer experience. It’s just something you can count on, even when there are fifty other coffee shops in your area that you could partronise.
Consumers are more savvy than ever before, making them far more willing to shop around if they feel like they experienced less than appropriate service. In fact, 51% of customers will never do business with a company again after just one negative experience.
Asking your customers what they want from your service will be a guaranteed way to enhance customer retention and prevent you from losing money. Send out customer surveys, scan reviews to look for trends, and, when possible, engage in direct conversations with people who have expressed dissatisfaction of any kind.
A negative review is a blemish on your brand’s reputation and could potentially scare away interested prospective customers. But responding to negative feedback in a way that exhibits patience, respect, and understanding can help you overcome those effects. Not only can a well-written response turn an unhappy customer around, but it shows prospects that you’re dedicated to making things right.
Another way to ensure good customer service is to have a good company culture. If your people are happy every day in work, that is commonly reflected in the way in which they interact with customers.
Train your employees the right way, and support them when they need it. Businesses with the highest customer loyalty and satisfaction rates put a lot of effort into employee training and are constantly working on a single standard. Speak to your newer employees to get feedback on the training they received, and refocus your training efforts if you need to.
In summary, yes, poor customer service is probably costing you money. Fix it, and use customer service as your main weapon to win over customers and retain your old ones – it’s more important than you might think.