“Well done is better than well said.” No other statement better emphasizes the importance of customer satisfaction over plain marketing. Here’s why the former needs more attention.
Why is customer service important?
I’m sure you’ve been in a difficult situation when you needed help on something. You seek customer support and they assist you to fix the problem (or they fix the problem themselves). After that, two things happen: either you’re happy or you’re unsatisfied with the service. And in some way, how you feel about it affects how you perceive the brand. Worst, bad customer service actually kills brands and businesses.
- Customers prefer live interaction when they want answers to urgent and complex issues, where:
- 57% of customers ranked call support as their initial channel preference for flexible communication, wanting an opportunity to ask, explain, reason or negotiate with customer service
- 58% more customers prefer to solve urgent issues by calling for support rather than use other channels.
- News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.*
- 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.**
- Roughly 8 in 10 global company marketers (primarily based in Europe) agree that it is cheaper to retain than acquire a customer, but they’re more likely to be focusing on acquisition than retention, according to results from an E-Consultancy study produced in association with Oracle Marketing Cloud.
- 90% of customers want “immediate” response — within 10 minutes or less — to their customer service questions.
HelpScout study sources: *White House Office of Consumer Affairs, **McKinsey and ***HubSpot Research
Benefits of awesome customer service to your marketing efforts:
- Increased brand trust: Don’t be the one-night stand partner who disappears the morning after. Be accessible, honest and ever-staying. When your customers believe you are a reliable service provider, they are most likely to trust you over other brands that are only good on words.
- Customer retention: Bain & Company’s research suggests that acquiring a new customer costs up to seven times more than the efforts spent than keeping already existing ones. How do you keep your existing customers aside from having a really dependable product? Have a formidable customer service program.
- Loyal customers: Would you buy again from a brand that failed you on the after-sales department? Probably not. Think about this: On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.*
- Repeat business: According to Marketing Metrics, you have up to a 70% chance of getting business from your existing customers, compared to only a 20% chance of selling to new prospects.
- Good customer reviews: In case you need more convincing by avoiding the negatives, you should know that news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.* Remember too that review platforms are frequently visited by your would-be and existing customers.
- Word-of-mouth referrals: Say you want to buy a product. Would you rather believe a salesman or an honest feedback from a trusted friend or colleague who already has one? I bet it’s the latter.
- Self-generated, self-sustaining marketing: In case it’s not obvious enough, all factors mentioned above lead to this. And in a business perspective, for the long run that all converts to recurring revenues and longer customer lifetime value without new customer acquisition costs.
Hopefully, those benefits are persuading enough for you to take customer service and support seriously for your business. While it’s true that you can’t please everybody, at least try to make your customer service efficient and reliable. But how do you do that?
How to improve your customer service efforts:
- Embed customer service into the overall business must-haves: Once you (and your fellow stakeholders) see the value of effective after-sales support to your business and marketing, it shouldn’t be so hard to give this function the attention it deserves.
- Listen to what your customers say: It’s not just about improving net promoter scores and all those corporate metrics. It pays to really empathize and show genuine interest into what your customers tell you about their problem or your product.
- Speak your customer’s language: I mean this literally too, by engaging your customers in their native language. Don’t assume everybody understands well (or wants to communicate in) English all the time. Also, consider the differences in cultural context. Think local!
- Make sure you’re equipped with the proper technical expertise: Aside from keeping your promises — that you would take their feedback seriously or help them fix their issue — ensure you (or your support teams) have the right know-how to fix the problem.
- Act fast: Immediately address unhappy customers and do everything in your power to remedy the situation. It’s not only worth keeping their business, but also avoiding any negative word-of-mouth exposure.
Good products and marketing convince your customer why they should choose you. Reliable customer service keeps them coming back.