How customer service is changing and why it is important in every industry –
Today’s customers are smarter and much more aware than they were a decade ago. Since they have exposure to a variety of choices in the global market, customers have the ability to compare not just pricing but customer service.
Mass customization and a surfeit of selection options within almost every industry have led companies to fight for customers’ business. Companies must not only provide reliable customer service, but they must also stand out.
We all know that customer service plays a very important role in any business, but just how vital is it? Several years ago customer service departments were an afterthought, but now businesses are contributing more resources to serve customers better.
Social media interaction between customers and businesses are driving expectations to a new level. The attitudes and opinions of millennials and Gen Z are placing higher demands on customer service departments and forcing businesses to improve their outlook on customer service.
A knowledgeable customer service department can make an enormous difference and lead a business in a positive direction. Not only can a stellar customer service team keep customers happy, but it can attract new customers through word of mouth and reviews.
To survive and thrive as a business today, it is very important to understand the consequences of poor customer service and the advantages of an excellent customer service department. Here are some customer service stats that can help your company achieve a higher level of customer service satisfaction.
State of the industry
According to the collection of statistics, 81 percent of Americans report that businesses are either meeting or exceeding expectations when it comes to customer service. In addition to that, 40 percent of Americans believe that businesses have focused their attention on customer service in this decade better than ever before.
Globally, 54 percent of all consumers say that they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago. This constant wave of increasing customer service standards is encouraging companies to improve each day.
64 percent of Americans contacted some form of customer service in the last year and report that customer service is improving as more companies are focusing on customer retention and loyalty.
Brand building and brand loyalty
As per the stats, 67 percent of customers say that customer engagement levels have improved in the last two years, and thanks to social media that keeps both customers and companies informed about each other’s needs.
96 percent of consumers believe that customer service is an important factor when it comes to brand loyalty, which highlights the need to make sure your company stands out. One way to do so? Examine your feedback. Brands that proactively invite and accept customer feedback are viewed more favorably by 77 percent of consumers.
Studies show that customer service is the number one thing that impacts a customers level of trust in a company. That being said, 68 percent of consumers report they are doing more business with companies that have exceptional customer service (and citing friendly-ness as a major factor).
Reaping the rewards of good customer service
Did you know that 70 percent of consumers say they have already made a choice to support a company that delivers great customer service? Today’s customers believe the key to great customer service is a polite customer service representative who provides a listening ear and quick solution. Moving a step further, a customer service department who really attempts to delight their customers with every interaction will stand out as exceptional.
Customer service representatives with service insight and knowledge also play a key role in providing a pleasant experience according to 62 percent of consumers. Statistics show that Americans will pay 17 percent more to do business with a firm known for providing exceptional customer service.
52 percent of consumers have even made additional purchases from a company after a positive customer service experience. Better customer service leads to repeat customers and word of mouth publicity.
It’s known that attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one and so it’s important for companies to build a better customer experience each time they interact with a customer.
Poor customer service loses out
The average American tells 15 to 20 people when they’ve had a poor customer service experience, but that number doubles if they had an exceptionally good experience. This is all the more incentive to offer the best experience possible, no matter what.
91 percent of customers will avoid going back to do business with companies where they experienced bad customer service and will certainly leave a negative review. This could stop many potential new customers from trying that company’s product or services.
47 percent of consumers have made the choice to switch to a different company due to bad customer service within the last year. Customers are not hesitant to ditch a company that provides them a bad experience. There are so many choices, after all.
Word of mouth publicity can work in a positive or negative way, and it is in the company’s hands how it impacts them. Happy customers will translate to more business and increased sales.
Millennials drive demand
Millennials are spending the majority of their time on their phones and social media. They are the new generation of buyers and game players, so it’s important to speak to them on their preferred channels. Millennials will pay 21 percent more to do business with a company with that provides good customer service — so it’s important to make sure they are able to communicate with your company with ease.
Millennials are the only demographic of Americans who tell more people when they have a good customer service experience and not a bad one which provides an excellent opportunity for those who excel in this field.
The younger generations are more tech-savvy and would prefer most customer service interactions to be automated. Studies show that millennials are more comfortable with non-human or automated customer service interactions.
Two-thirds of millennials say they would be happy to have a gadget that is connected to a company’s customer service department that can alert them to software or mechanical malfunctions. That’s giving up a lot of privacy for convenience!
How customers communicate
In the era of smartphones, it’s not surprising that one-third of all customers use their mobile device to initiate contact with customer service, whereas 52 percent of customer service communications begin online.
Being that the internet is a large part of our everyday lives, almost 90 percent of customers expect either an online portal or customer service that’s accessible 24/7. Not providing at least one of these could mean that a company is seen as providing poor customer service. 68 percent of consumers believe that proactive customer service increases their positive perceptions of a brand or company.
Most business owners know that reviews, both positive and negative, play a vital role in any company’s fate. In fact, 88 percent of consumers are influenced by online customer service reviews when making a final decision.
86 percent of millennials said they are influenced by negative reviews when purchasing a product or service, which means that a positive collection of reviews online is vital. Reviews and online portals are the new, most important players in the customer service market.
Social media and customer service
Most companies have social media accounts and hiring a social media manager to man them can be a game changer. Both in the United States and globally, 18 percent of customers expect a response from a company’s social media within one hour. This common expectation has encouraged most companies to build a strong social media presence.
Unsurprisingly, 65 percent of people aged 18-34 believe social media is an effective channel for customer service, while 75 percent of people aged 55 and over do not. This means that companies need to pay close attention to who their audience is and where they should be communicating with them.
The rise of automation and self-service
To meet the expectations of millennials and to offer better and quicker customer service, more companies are investing in highly automated and self-service portals. Over 60 percent of Americans prefer an automated self-service portal for simple yet quick customer service.
In fact, by 2020 it’s projected that 85 percent of customer service interactions will be automated. This means that customers will be expecting a flawless and responsive website and portal.
Answers should be easy to find as well because most customers can find their own answers online faster than it takes to call the company. Instead of calling customer service right away, 75 percent of customers report using a search engine to find answers to service related questions.
The customer is and will always be a king. Believing that the customer is always right and using that mentality to help them solve their issues is what differentiates a good customer service team from an excellent one.
Bill Gates once said that the most unhappy customers are a company’s biggest source of learning. By really taking an interest in your customer’s happiness and taking their feedback to heart, you can impress people and build lifelong customers.