Poor customer service experiences seem to be a universal frustration. Chances are, most of us can rattle off a bad customer service experience without hesitation. And that bad experience can stick with us for years, turning a would-be loyal customer into a potential adversary. Most companies today place far more budget and attention into getting customer attention versus giving consumers attention, even when it is becoming more and more apparent that the customer experience can make or break a brand. This is remarkable considering it costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than keep a current one.
A million dollar marketing budget coupled with ten cent customer support is a poor long-term business strategy. With this in mind, here are some important issues marketers need to consider about getting back to the roots of good customer service and creating lifelong brand fans:
1) People Love to Share Bad Customer Service
Our survey found that 55% of consumers stop doing business with at least one company during the past year because of bad customer experience. A bad experience can instantaneously ignite like wildfire via a social network and potentially spread to mainstream media – creating a new negative hurdle for marketers to overcome. Good customer service not only minimizes the existence of brand antagonists, it creates advocates that make marketers’ jobs much easier. Our research also showed that if companies make is easy to do so, 61% of consumers would share a good customer service experience.
2) Exceptional Customer Service Makes A Bigger Mark Than You Think
Consumers show appreciation for great customer service with their wallets. In fact, consumers say they would pay more just to ensure a superior customer experience. The Aspect study found that 76% of consumers said that customer service is a ‘true test’ of how much a company values its customers. This runs counter to the perception five to six years ago where customer service was seen as an expense and not as an investment in growing the business. In many ways exceptional customer experiences can be exceptional marketing. The service touch-point provides another opportunity to reinforce the brand message and a great experience can become an organic and viral event that the customer will evangelize on behalf of the brand.
3) Personalize the Customer Experience
Consumers want to engage with the companies they do business with, but on their own terms. No longer are customers reaching out directly to agents via phone, they are looking to contact companies via text, live chat, social media and pretty soon via messaging apps. In fact, 4 in 10 of millennials prefer purely online customer service versus talking to a live agent. Marketers who recognize this can take advantage of the opportunity to build customer loyalty by giving customers personalized care, including the channels of communications they want. We’ve found that personalization is so important to consumers that they are willing to provide more data in exchange for enhanced personalization.
4) Provide Customer Interactions
Whenever customers contact customer service, companies are hearing what the brand perception is and what challenges they are facing. Marketers can use this knowledge to draft new insights for future marketing efforts and tailor existing offers to better meet customers’ needs. 7 in 10 people say that they feel more loyal to a company when that company shows them that they know them. People today, especially millennials, value customer experience more than the functions and features in a product and as a result experience can engender brand loyalty.
5) Understand, Learn and Drive Action
It is time for marketers to recognize the insight the customer journey can provide. If you follow your customers’ experiences across all touch points you’ll be amazed at the wealth of information you’ll acquire. Do they have a satisfactory experience on each channel and are able to move effortlessly between them? Understanding the journey can give insight into how their experience effects their loyalty to you and their future business with you. Pick up the phone and call, tweet or text customer your service. You’ll be surprised what you learn.