Our relationships with customers have evolved significantly over the past few years. Consumer expectations have increased, and some of the world’s leading brands have set the bar very high, leaving smaller brands playing catch-up. For many industries, it’s no longer a race to the bottom on price, with consumers now taking customer experience into account when purchasing online, and with excellent customer service being a true brand differentiator.
Take a look at the stats below, and be sure to keep them in mind when enhancing and developing your customer service strategy.
- More than 90% of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
BrightLocal found that a huge majority of millennials value and trust online reviews, and this stat shows the incredible power of gathering and publishing your website reviews regularly. While encouraging personal referrals is an effective method of acquiring new customers from your current ones, this can cost money with discounts and incentives, making reviews one of the most cost-effective methods of gaining new business.
- US companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service
An eye-watering amount of revenue is lost annually, according to research by Vonage. Whether the poor customer service is experienced before purchase, or if it encourages your customers never to return, it’s very difficult to win over an unhappy customer without clear and robust internal customer service strategy. The two main methods of negating a poor customer service experience are:
- making sure that you’re offering a range of options for people to get in touch with a fast response
- ensuring that your customer service is helpful and focused on delivering a quick outcome across all platforms – whether that’s by phone, email, live chat or in-store.
- Customers are willing to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews
Research by Invespcro has shown that customers are willing to spend almost a third more on their purchases if they have access to excellent reviews. One of the main purposes of reviews is to show credibility or demonstrate trustworthiness, and customer reviews are a cost-effective way of doing this, while delivering social proof.
- Live chat is the preferred support channel of Millennials
Comm100 found that millennials (those born between 1982 and 1996) prefer live chat for its speed and convenience. Live chat can generally be accessed quickly on all devices, and response times often far exceed social media, phone or email contacts, making it easy to get a quick answer and resolution on the go.
- It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one
One of the old adages in customer service, Invespcro found that it costs up to 500% more to attract a new customer than it does to keep hold of an existing one. With digital marketing and paid traffic strategies more competitive than ever before, this figure will only rise in the coming years. So, while your acquisition strategy is essential, it’s equally as important to invest in engaging with and supporting your current customers in order to grow your business.
- 50% of shoppers don’t think their feedback goes to anyone who can act on it
Interestingly, Qualtrics found that half of your customers think that their feedback won’t be acted on. That’s why it’s so important to outline, during the feedback process, how their feedback is valued, and how it will be used. Try using some copy such as the following when asking for feedback from your customers.
‘Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. Your feedback is valued, and we make sure to read every piece that we receive, to respond and to escalate feedback to the appropriate departments. If you have any further notes for us based on this survey, please get in touch [on these contact details].’
This short thank-you note shows that you care, that your customers’ opinions are important, and it also demonstrates how it will be used internally to make improvements in the future.
- Answering a social-media customer complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%
Many businesses treat social-media complaints at a much lower priority, and they are often dealt with by social-media teams rather than your internal customer support experts. Provide Support found that a response to a complaint on social media can increase advocacy by up to 25% – a percentage with a significant impact that can’t be ignored!
- On average, companies that invest in their customer experience also observe an improvement in employee engagement by 20%
In 2017, McKinsey found a strong link between investment in customer experience (CX) and employee engagement (EE) in businesses. Here are a few examples of business practices that make good CX and high EE correlate:
- A company-wide commitment to transparent and clear communications
- Leading with a customer-centric approach, and less unhappy communications with customers for staff
- A business commitment to listening to and acting on feedback from all sides
- Almost 2/3 of buyers expect a response within 10 minutes to any marketing, sales or customer service inquiry
Hubspot found that around 66% of buyers expect an ‘immediate’ response to all marketing, sales and customer-service enquiries. With instant gratification now a normal part of our lives, the expectations for customer services in 2020 are no exception – so make sure that you have the framework in place to either deliver quick responses from your customer service team or to set up auto-replies and keyword triggers that deliver fast answers (and resolutions!) to your customer’s most frequently asked questions.
- Happy customers will share their positive experience with about 11 people
American Express’s research into customer service showed that happy customers will go on to share their experiences with more than 10 other people – which is a huge benefit to your business, as not only does this increase your customer retention, but will also help to boost your organic acquisition too.
- Angry customers will share a negative experience with about 15 people
Not surprisingly, their research went on to find that customers who had negative experiences would share this with an average of 15 others. Once again, this highlights the essential nature of keeping your customer service experience a high priority in your communications, PR and marketing plans.
- When choosing and remaining loyal to brands, 95% of consumers indicated that customer service is important to them
In 2018, Microsoft found that a vast majority of consumers consider customer service both when initially choosing brands to purchase from, but also when deciding on whether to remain a customer or not.
By keeping customer service at the centre of your sales, marketing and communications strategy and by being mindful of the impact of positive and negative experiences alike, your business can become a leader in customer service – leading to better customer retention, a lower cost per acquisition for new customers, and even an increase in your own employee engagement.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!