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Great Customer Service Doesn’t Cost. It Pays

A woman customer support agent helping a customer via a phone
Written by Publishing Team


Photo: Adobe Stock

Is providing good customer service worth the effort and expense? Consider these stats from the 2021 Customer Amazement Survey:

  • 73% would do their best to do business with a company that offers better customer service.
  • 52% would pay more if they knew they would get better customer service. This number is higher if the experience is easy and convenient.
  • 70% are more likely to tell their friends and family after a good customer experience. Remember, word of mouth can be your best marketing.

Then there’s the ugly side of not meeting customer service expectations:

  • 83% said they would change brands or companies due to poor customer service experience.
  • 79% said they would convert if they knew of another company that offers a better customer experience.
  • 67% said they would share poor customer service experiences with friends, family or on social media
  • modes.

Many companies and brands recognize the power of a good customer service experience and are making significant investments in new processes and technologies that will fuel a powerful digital experience. Our research shows that 41% of customers with a problem or question choose digital self-service options, such as a website FAQ page, video tutorials, chat bots, etc. This number will continue to grow in the future.

But even with an investment in technology, you cannot ignore the human interaction that is required when a customer is communicating directly with the company. If 41% of customers choose a digital first option, that leaves 59% who would prefer calling and talking to a live customer service agent.

With the right investment, live interactions can give you some of the best ROI. Since the beginning of my career in the 1980s, I have recommended that customer service is not a department but a philosophy that everyone in the organization should embrace. I think what is usually called a customer service department should be changed to something more appropriate, like a customer support department, a customer retention department, a revenue generation department, or even a customer love department.

When you manage customer questions, problems, and complaints well, they reciprocate by returning, spending more and even becoming loyal to the company or brand.

Speaking of loyalty, it does not happen without trust, which is another advantage of providing good customer service. Seventy-nine percent of customers surveyed would trust a brand more if it provided excellent customer service. You cannot have loyalty without trust. Confidence creates trust. It comes from an expected and consistent experience that customers know they will have every time they do business with the company or brand. Although confidence sometimes comes from the quality of the product, it is also the way the customer is treated throughout the purchase process as well as after the sale, from the follow-up and support that makes the customer want to come back again and again. Any kind of recurring business, especially business that comes from loyalty, is less expensive than setting up new business.

Now for the return on investment. If the statistics at the beginning of this article are not enough, let’s keep track of some numbers. All you have to do is study the stock market and how companies with the highest ratings in customer service compare to companies that are not well known for service. Watermark Consulting tracked the 13-year performance of customer experience leaders versus laggards between 2007 and 2019. Note that this does not include the past two years, when the market made huge gains. The point is that these numbers are realistic and even include the downturn in the market in 2008.

  • The S&P returned 199.6%.
  • The sluggish customer experience yielded a return of 90%, less than half of Standard & Poor’s.
  • Customer Experience Leaders returned 307%, an increase of 50% over the S&P Index.

The facts cannot be disputed. There is an ultimate financial return from providing a high level of customer service. This does not happen by chance. Customer service is more than just a strategy. It must be baked into the culture. Look at companies that have done well and are recognized as leaders. Study Glassdoor.com, which ranks how well a company works, it’s no mistake that there is a huge crossover between companies that are great to work with and companies that are great to do business with.

Customer service in culture. Everyone must be trained, and this is where many organizations go wrong. They don’t train everyone. Only the front line. While the front line may deal directly with customers, and as a result must be trained in techniques that others in the company may not need, the key to building a customer-focused culture is training everyone. While people working in non-client positions may not need the same training as those on the front lines, they still need to understand their role.

last thoughts

I hope I helped you understand the need to invest in customer service training. The result is to build customer trust and confidence in the company to keep coming back, spending more and telling friends, family and colleagues about their positive experiences with you. It all boosts revenue, which is the ROI you’re looking for by investing in customer service. We look at it this way. Customer service does not cost. Pay.

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Publishing Team

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