This week we feature an article by Janine Hunt, Client Partnership Director at Kura, a company that provides customer service solutions by outsourcing contact center services and software solutions. She shares how customer service is the deciding factor to your customer’s loyalty to your business. According to Forbes, 96% of customers would leave your business […]
This week we feature an article by Janine Hunt, Client Partnership Director at Kura, a company that provides customer service solutions by outsourcing contact center services and software solutions. She shares how customer service is the deciding factor to your customer’s loyalty to your business.
According to Forbes, 96% of customers would leave your business if you deliver a bad customer experience.
No, that’s not a typo. Ninety-six percent are likely to leave.
In saturated markets, customer service is a key differentiator. Consumers have a multitude of options available to them nowadays, so it’s easy for them to leave your business for a competitor. Many businesses may not be prioritizing customer service due to budget restraints, but it’s one of the worst things you could do.
Let’s take a deeper look at the statistics. Of the 96% of customers who’d consider leaving your business, 27.9% would be extremely willing to switch to another business for a better service, while the rest would be very or somewhat willing.
Customer service is essential to the loyalty of your clients. Loyalty leads to customer retention, and retention is vital for businesses because the cost of acquiring new customers is on average five times higher than retaining your existing clients. What’s more, increasing your customer retention by just 5% can see your business boost its profits by up to 95%! This is, in part, because happy customers are more likely to recommend your business to others.
If your customer service isn’t up to scratch, you risk falling behind the competition. Two-thirds of businesses now use their customer service as a unique selling point (USP) to help them stand out in the market, compared to 10% in 2010. If your customers are looking elsewhere because of poor service, your competitors are targeting them by promoting their service.
Now that you know how critical it is to deliver an outstanding customer experience, how can you achieve it? A good customer experience has many elements, and taking them all into account is important to keep your customers happy.
People like to talk to people. While customers can self-serve online now, sometimes they still need to get in touch with your employees directly. And your people can make or break that experience. Hiring people who are genuinely passionate about delivering a great customer experience is essential. Businesses that need large customer service teams often feel pressured to hire anyone competent, but that can result in poor service.
Training is also important to make sure your advisors are all on the same page. The last thing your customers need is an inconsistent experience. Your training program will also help to instil your business’ values into your customer service team so they’re driven by them in each interaction.
Empathy and understanding are essential traits for customer service advisors. If customers feel like they aren’t being listened to or understood, they’ll chalk the experience up as bad customer service. Good communication skills, accountability, courage, and a willingness to go above and beyond are essential for customer service advisors. So, make sure your advisors can deliver all of this for customers.
It’s also critical to have enough people to deal with your customer queries. Businesses that don’t have enough advisors will often make it more difficult to speak to a live advisor, and unsurprisingly, this is the biggest frustration for customers. Whether it’s automated phone options, chatbots, or circular website contact pages, not having the option to speak to a human is the worst thing you can do for your customers.
Too few advisors can also have the impact of causing long wait times – another key frustration for customers. This can also cause stress for your employees, who may try to rush through interactions knowing there’s a large queue of customers waiting. Hiring an adequate number of talented and passionate advisors can be a time and cost-intensive exercise, and it’s not achievable for many businesses, so you may want to consider customer service outsourcing. Tapping into the experience of a business dedicated to servicing customers, with a depth of advisors that may not be attainable in-house, can dramatically improve your customer service output.
As our world becomes increasingly digital, it might seem like offering more traditional customer service channels, such as face-to-face meetings and phone calls, isn’t necessary. But that’s not the case. While the number of customers who only want digital contact options rose from 10% to 21% between 2019 and 2020, 71% of customers still want a blend of physical and digital channels.
Offering multiple channels will not only allow you to meet these customers’ expectations, but it’ll also ensure that you are catering to all of your customer demographics. There’s a generational divide in customers’ channel preferences, with younger customers opting for digital communication while older generations choose channels like in-person and phone calls. People over 65 and those on low incomes are less likely to feel comfortable with their digital skills or have access to the internet, so it’s vital to ensure those customers can still reach you.
Some businesses offer a blend of channels, but if your resources are limited, it’s important to know which ones to focus on. The top five channels that customers expect when dealing with a business are email, live chat, website, voice calls, and SMS messages. Make sure that customers can experience a seamless transition between channels or departments too – 73% will reconsider their relationship with a business if they have to repeat their problem over and over again.
Customer service has never been more important to your clients or your business. It’s a deciding factor when it comes to your customer’s loyalty to your business, and even one bad experience could see one in three customers leave. Without a batch of loyal customers, it can be difficult to increase your profits and grow your business to others; your business will struggle to survive. By improving these three areas of your customer service, you can boost your business’ client retention, reputation, and even profits.
Janine Hunt is the Client Partnership Director at Kura, a company that provides customer service solutions by outsourcing contact center services and software solutions.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About—And Other Songs About Customer Experience
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