Here is a sobering statistic. According to the Five9 Customer Index 2017 report, 77% of customers in the B2C space will not do business with you again if you give them bad customer service the first time they do business with you. This is huge. That means that more than three-quarters of your customers will not give you a second chance if you don’t give them the customer experience they expect the first time around. Now, while the survey is focused on retail and consumers, don’t be fooled into thinking someone in the B2B space is exempt. The numbers are different, but the concept is valid for any business in any industry.
Our customers are smarter than ever, at least as customer service is concerned. They know what good customer service is and they aren’t just comparing you to your direct competition. Anyone that has delivered a stellar customer service experience – in any type of business – to one of your customers has just set the bar higher for you.
Customer service is your competitive advantage. Numerous surveys are proving that customers are starting to shift toward service being more important than price. And, a large majority of executives have announced a major push toward creating a better, more competitive, customer service experience. Five9 surveyed 1,138 consumers and found that 89% said a “great customer experience” is a key reason that helps them decide which company to do business with. And, that reasons trumps price, product quality, and even recommendations from friends.
So, what is a company to do? Here are a few suggestions. By the way, I’ve written about these before, but after seeing the Five9 report, this is a perfect time to remind ourselves of some of these important strategies and tactics that will help us with each and every one of our customers.
- Customer service doesn’t just happen on the front line. It happens throughout the entire company. It’s part of the company’s culture.
- Be present in the moment. What are you doing right now – what kind of experience is the customer having at this moment – that is going to ensure that the next time he or she needs what you sell, they will come back to you?
- No company and no person is flawless. You can’t deliver a perfect customer experience all of the time. So, when there is a problem or complaint, don’t just fix it. Restore the customer’s confidence. Assuming you handle the issue well, it validates the customer’s choice to do business with you in the first place and proves why they should come back.
- Speaking of managing complaints, don’t argue with a customer. You’ll never win. There’s an old saying that says, “You’re not trying to win an argument. You’re trying to win a customer.”
- Always show appreciation to your customer. Say “Thank you” over and over again. They want and expect to know you care.
Some of you may say that these five ideas are common sense. Yes, they are! However, it’s not always as common as it should be. Number one, which is focused on the culture, is strategic. It takes time and an effort that is never really finished. The other four concepts are tactics. They are easily carried out by any person on your team. So, take the time to share these ideas with your colleagues. As the Five9 statistic teaches us, most of the time you only have one shot at impressing your customer. Don’t strike out!
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright © MMXVII, Shep Hyken)