It’s all about great customer service

Holiday Extras Customer's Awards picturesIt’s still the great tsunami of business success; great customer service improves brand loyalty and increases profit. Customers would rather pay more for services and products than put up with a rude staff, unknowledgeable employees, and a company failing to resolve problems in a timely manner.

According to a Harris Interactive poll of 2,200 adults surveyed by RightNow Technologies, 82% of  US consumers have stopped using particular companies or services because of poor customer service. Shoppers aren’t just leaving quietly; they are warning their friends, families, and co-workers about their bad experiences. In fact 85% of dissatisfied customers warn others, 66% try to dissuade others from using the particular company, and the overwhelming majority chose to share their bad experiences by word of mouth.

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube made its impact in customer service opinion too. Of the consumers who posted negative experiences publicly, 58% expected a response, 42% expected a response within one day, but only 22% actually ever received a response as a result of their posts.

Statistically, it looks like negative customer experiences can make profound impacts on companies. According to Greg Gianforte, CEO of RightNow, which works on customer experience solutions, states, “By focusing on delivering exceptional experiences, businesses have the opportunity to grow their customer base, improve brand loyalty and increase overall revenue.”

So what are some suggestions a company should do if their reputation has suffered the slings and arrows of poor customer experiences? According to the survey all is not lost. After all, 92% of the respondents said they would be willing to give a company another chance after having had a bad experience. Of those responding, 66% wanted an apology or solution from a supervisor or from the main office, 52% wanted a discount off the product or service that was unsatisfactory, and 49% wanted proof  of the customer service improvement since their bad experience.

Companies need to invest, and not just spend money in training of customer service representatives. There are no excuses for lack of knowledge and rudeness. Practical seminars, role-playing, mentoring, and education can make the difference. Supervisors and heads of companies need to join the front ranks and listen to the complaints. There are reasons for negative feedback, and companies will have to generate positive statements. Start by reaching out to friends and colleagues for endorsements once new company procedures have been instituted. Get social; let everyone know that issues have been resolved. Great customer service has always been spread via word or mouth; it’s just that the word of mouth has so many new venues that make it even more wide-spread.

photo credit: Holidayextras

3 Responses to “It’s all about great customer service”

  1. Shep Hyken said:

    Oct 15, 10 at 1:50 pm

    Great article. Customer Service can determine your companies success. Properly trained employees will bring success as well as happy and committed employees. Encourage your employees to go to work for your company, not just a paycheck. It’s also important for companies to recognize their employees and let them know they are appreciated. Shep Hyken, Author of the Cult of the Customer (http://www.hyken.com)

  2. Lee Silverstein said:

    Oct 19, 10 at 11:23 am

    Great article. Employers must have some “non-negotiable” traits to look for when hiring front-line employees; great energy/enthusiasm, self confidence and a positive attitude just to name a few.

  3. Kathy Clark said:

    Oct 19, 10 at 8:21 pm

    I agree organizations need to pay attention to the “word on the street”. With all the social networking sites and communication at the speed of light, it is easy for a fire storm of commentary to be going on and a business owner may not even know about it. Turning a disgruntled customer around is very possible with the right response and a good service recovery plan. The reality is, most organizations goof up once in a while, the difference is the successful ones know how to recover from it. Great article.