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Businesses can pour money into elaborate advertising campaigns, but poor customer service can undo all that hard work instantly.

Excellent customer service can be as good (and often better) for your brand than a well-orchestrated PR campaign: get your customers to do the talking for you! Great service also determines whether your existing customers shop with you again and whether your potential customers get beyond just that – potential.

There are plenty of statistics that can give you an insight into the power of good (or bad) customer service. Here are ten facts and what they mean for your contact center.

1. In the US, the cost of poor customer service is $41 billion per year

Every consumer has a value that goes beyond their next purchase. If you lose a customer due to bad service, you could potentially lose a year’s worth of revenue, all because you failed to pick up the phone. Plus, bad news travels fast. Disappoint one customer and their friends and family are not going to shop with you either. It’s not surprising that there’s a multi-billion dollar bill attached to poor service.

2. Phones still handle around 68% of all contact center communications

With social media-grabbing headlines with claims that it’s the future of customer service, there’s a risk that service teams will spend too long developing a social strategy and neglect the good old-fashioned phone call.

This statistic shows that phone support should still be the number one priority for contact centers. As far as customers are concerned, it’s often much easier to pick up the phone and speak to someone than it is to track a brand down on social media.

3. Social media channels handle just 3% of all customer communications

Compare this to the 68% of consumers that get in touch via phone and this should pull your customer service strategy into perspective. While it’s still essential that brands are engaged on social media, Facebook and Twitter are still far from becoming the first channels of choice for consumers.

4. 59% of 25-34 year-olds share poor customer experiences online

While social media may not be a popular choice when it comes to customer service, it’s an extremely popular platform to turn to when it comes to sharing a bad experience.

Before the internet, if you upset a customer, three or four of their friends might know about it. In the 21st century, an upset customer can easily reach thousands of people within minutes. Providing good customer service is as much about maintaining your brand image as it is about your relationship with that customer.

5. After a positive customer experience, 69% of Americans would recommend that company to others

On the other end of the scale, consumers are much more willing to share a positive experience than a negative one, with 69% of customers recommending a brand that delivers excellence. Nothing can beat a personal recommendation – and this is something contact centers should aim to achieve at the end of every customer communication. Think big.

6. Following a negative customer experience, 58% of Americans would never use that company again

Every time you fail to resolve a customer’s issue, there’s more than a 50% chance you’ll never hear from them again, and that’s a lot of revenue. The role of the contact center is vital in ensuring your existing customers keep coming back time and time again.

7. 60% of customers change their contact channel depending on where they are and what they’re doing

We live in a world where consumers flit between customer service channels just as easily as they dip in and out of online, mobile and shopping at the mall.

Just because a consumer usually likes to call, doesn’t mean they won’t open live chat while they’re watching TV, or send an email if they’re really busy. Contact centers need to be prepared for talking to the same customers across multiple channels, and be able to offer a seamless service however their customers choose to get in touch that day.

8. Failure to respond via social channels can lead to a 15% increase in the churn rate

Social media might not be the most popular channel of communication (yet), but it can have a big impact on how shoppers see your brand.

Failing to respond to someone is perhaps the absolute worst thing you could do – your customer will not only feel under-appreciated and ignored, but their request will be left hanging on social media for all to see.

9. On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase

Far too often businesses get wrapped up in acquiring new customers; from discount coupons to ad campaigns, they’ll do anything to tempt potential customers in store. This can lead to existing customers feeling neglected, and it’s the role of the contact center to make sure this doesn’t happen.

10. 60% of consumers favor a balance of price and service and will not accept low service levels in exchange for a cheap deal

At the dawn of eCommerce, many consumers shopped online as a way to save money. It’s since become so much more than that, with consumers looking for a high quality service, too.

What contact center managers can learn is that customer service has to be part of the package. The call center may seem disconnected from the mechanics of the shop, warehouse and website, but when a customer chooses a business they’re often choosing the service, too.

Article first published on the Salesforce Blog

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About Tim Pickard

Tim joined NewVoiceMedia in July 2011 with over 20 years' experience as a leader in the IT industry. He served as VP and board member of RSA Security's international business for seven years where he ran marketing in EMEA, Asia Pacific and Japan. He spent two years as Chief Marketing Officer for SaaS/Cloud-based email management provider Mimecast.

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