December 12, 2019 | By

Important Customer Service Statistics You Need to Know

Sure, you know the importance of customer service. But do you know just how important it is? One look at customer service statistics and it’s clear that consumer expectations when it comes to service aren’t just rising—they’re skyrocketing. If you want to stay competitive, it’s critical to step up your customer service game. Because today’s customers aren’t just comparison shopping when it comes to what you sell; they’re looking at how you sell it. They won’t hesitate to walk away if an experience is sub-par—and there’s a good chance they’ll tell their friends about it, too.

The numbers that matter

  • 54% of all consumers say they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago.
  • A customer is four times more likely to buy from your competitor if they encounter a problem related to your customer service rather than your product or price.
  • 80% of customers say the experience a company delivers is just as important as its products and services.
  • $62 billion is lost each year in the U.S. alone as a result of poor customer service.

Companies are increasingly catching on to the fact that just-OK customer service won’t cut it anymore. In one recent study, more than two-thirds of companies said they competed primarily on the basis of customer experience—up from only 36% in 2010. That aligns with analysts’ predictions that by the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

So what makes good customer service?

Well, best-in-class brands are investing in CX technologies like live chat and AI to respond more effectively to customer needs. They’re offering support via multiple channels, to satisfy customers’ desire for choice and convenience. They’re also knocking down the organizational walls that have traditionally separated those channels, to ensure a seamless experience as customer hop from channel to channel.

Ironically, the strides companies are making in customer support are part of what’s driving the rise in customer service expectations. When brands build a reputation for offering above-and-beyond service, they quickly become the standard that everyone needs to meet: “X and Y brands did this for me when I had a problem. Why can’t you?” Add to that the proliferation of available customer service channels and the culture of immediate gratification that’s taken hold in the consumer space (remember when 3-to-5-day shipping was considered fast?) and it’s clear why the bar for customer service keeps getting higher.

The good news? The actual substance of what customers want—that is, the things that make for great customer experiences—ultimately come down to what I believe are the 3 most important factors of customer service: speed, convenience, and knowledgeable, friendly service according to 80% of American consumers. They want answers and resolutions to their problems fast (ideally ten minutes or less) and don’t want to wait on hold or in long chat queues. They want to be able to interact with your brand using the channel of their choice, and not have to repeat themselves as they jump from channel to channel. They also want self-service options, with two-thirds of customers preferring to try solving issues on their own before reaching out to a representative.

Staffing and training alone can’t fulfill all of the above. The pace and volume of demand is just too great. To gain and maintain an edge in the customer service game, you have to invest in the right customer service technologies—including a chat solution that empowers you to deliver the answers, assistance, and personalization your customers expect, across every channel. If you want more tips for building a competitive advantage through customer service and customer engagement in general, read this Forrester report.

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