Poor Customer Service by the Numbers

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Every business knows that customer service is crucial to its survival. Without satisfied customers, companies will find themselves slowly losing business until there is no one left to sell to; as a result, maintaining a steady base of happy, loyal customers is the best way to ensure your long-term success. However, despite this knowledge, many businesses continue to make customer service mistakes that end up costing them in the long run. Here are four facts about customer service and what you can learn from them:

1. Customer service affects purchasing.

78 percent of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience, according to a 2011 American Express Survey. So, even if you have a superior product, don’t neglect your customer service department if you want your business to thrive; in the long term, the way that your business treats your customers matters. You can’t count on the quality of your product or service to see you through interactions with multiple dissatisfied customers.

2. Negative experiences are more long-lasting.

A business needs 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience, according to “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner. That’s why putting in time and money to build your company’s customer service skills is worth the investment – in the future, you won’t have to attempt to repair damaged relationships, and can instead build on a stable base of happy customers.

3. Dissatisfied customers turn to competitors.

59 percent of Americans  would try a new brand or company if it meant getting a better service experience, according to a 2011 American Express Survey. As a result, failing to provide a positive experience for your customers not only leads them to terminate their business with you, but to take their purchasing power to bolster your competitors.

4. Technology can impede customer service.

75 percent of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent, according to Harris Interactive. This means that the majority of customers have deal with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, which experts recognize as contributing to poor customer service. That’s not just because they often malfunction and are unable to recognize accented voices the way live agents can; overall, customers want to talk to real people, and see automated phone conversations as impersonal and unwelcoming.