The Only Customer Service Trend that Matters


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The Only Trend That MattersCustomer Momentum

Over the last month or so I’ve received numerous requests for comments on what I see the trends being in customer service and experience over the next year. Sure, we can spot many trends from the way customers behave and react – or the way companies are delivering service. But, in the end, there is only one trend that really matters:

The trend of your customer doing business with you. Let’s call it “customer momentum.” Is it trending the way you want it to – which is usually up – or not?

Okay, that may not be the trend you were expecting to learn about. You probably thought you were going to learn something that you didn’t already know. Some stat or fact that might impact your customer service and experience strategy – or maybe even your bottom line. Well, I can’t think of one trend that is more important than customer momentum, which is the customer doing more business with you, buying more than they used to each time they do more business with you, and recommending you and your company to others. That’s the trend I focus on.

Regardless of all of the great lists of outstanding ideas and trends, none of them really mean much if they aren’t impacting your customer’s experience positively. You can implement the latest and greatest systems, upgrade to the newer technology, and bring in the best consultants, but if they don’t do anything to increase the customer’s perception of you, the amount of business they do with you, and anything else tied to the success of your business, then it all means nothing.

The customer momentum trend to pay close attention to has to do with your own personal numbers. Numbers that impact customer momentum are revenue, average sale, number of purchases or transactions compared to last year, the customers purchasing frequency, and more. You can even consider customer satisfaction surveys, such as a Net Promoter Score or a customer effort rating. These are the indicators that will give you insight to the customer “trends” you want to be watching.

Now, just to please those people who were looking for trends outside of customer momentum, here are a few that we’re spotting that you may also want to take notice of:

  • If you haven’t noticed, more and more customers are going social. While not a new trend, it’s a growing trend.
  • Customer service is the new marketing. More and more companies realize that their word-of-mouth reputation is strengthened when they deliver an amazing customer experience.
  • Video is hot. Companies are using YouTube as a way to share value-added information that customers want and need to have about their products and services.
  • Self-service customer service is being widely and happily accepted by customers. Easy to use websites that have answers to common problems or frequently asked questions make it easy for the customer to use. YouTube videos that offer help to these same questions and problems are gaining in popularity. You just have to teach your customers to use them.
  • And, customers continue to get smarter, at least as it applies to customer service. They expect better service than ever before. I’ve written about this a lot over the last year or so. Your company is no longer being compared to just your competition. Your customers compare you to the great service they had at the restaurant they ate at last night – or any other company inside or outside of your industry that provided them with a good customer service experience.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.


  1. Hi Shep, Thanks for this and I wholeheartedly agree. It is of course well known that it is far cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to a new one, something like six times cheaper if you believe the ‘common wisdom’. However, that does not mean it is six times easier. Your Customer Momentum score may well include revenue, average sale, number of purchases etc. but all of this comes to nothing if your customer is not happy with the service you provide. With a strong, trusted customer relationship in place, then it really does become six times easier to keep your existing customer and make further sales. The real trick is how to go about doing this. There is no silver bullet, all businesses are different all require different strategies. By the way, your biography really did make me smile, I have never seen a CAO before!

  2. Hi Clive – Good points. It’s simple. Every time someone deals with a customer they should ask themselves a simple question: Is what I’m doing now going to get the customer to come back the next time they need what I sell?

    And, glad you enjoy the CAO title. Thank you!

  3. Momentum is a great term for what I’d also identify as a “point of inflection”, or tipping point, in the customer life cycle. After the first purchase, the customer’s relationship with a vendor will begin to be defined. As further experience takes place, customer expectations are formed and that momentum will more clearly become evident – but many organizations are just marginally aware of positive or negative movement in customer perception of value or customer sentiment (although I’d challenge whether NPS is an appropriate way to determine that). One of the elements of customer life cycle and relationship I’ve studied most actively is what I’ve defined as risk. My colleague Jill Griffin and I examined customer risk very thoroughly in our 2001 book, Customer WinBack; and I’ve written about it with some frequency.

    One of the principal contributors to risk is unexpressed, or poorly resolved, complaints. Most companies are fairly passive where it comes to identifying non-communicated complaints or understanding the downstream behavioral (and financial) of unresolved or passively handled complaints: It’s an area of customer data analysis and dashboarding that gets little attention.

  4. Thank you, Michael, for stopping by and commenting. I always appreciate your thoughts and also appreciate your articles. Thanks for sharing.


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