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The 2012 (Sad) State of Customer Service

The state of customer service today is not good to put it mildly.  It doesn’t matter if it’s over the phone or on the web using self service options.  Since 92% of people (BenchmarkPortal call center study) feel their call experience was important in shaping the image of a company, it reinforces the significance of branding the image of your company.

A survey entitled The Cost of Poor Customer Service: The Economic Impact of the Customer Experience and Engagement  - sponsored by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories and Datamonitor/Ovum reports that the cost of customer service in 15 major industrialized economies causes businesses to lose a total of $338.5 billion dollars per year when customers defect and/or abandon purchases.  No small change here.

The 2012 American Express® Global Customer Service survey, conducted in the U.S. and ten other countries, (Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, and India) explored consumer attitudes and preferences toward customer service.  The most popular way consumers address service inquiries continues to be speaking to a live representative (either on the phone or face-to-face), and through company website or e-mail. 

However, one in five consumers (17%) say they’ve used social media at least once in the last year to obtain a customer service response, and this relatively small group of consumers is extremely engaged and vocal.

  • People who have used social media for customer service at least once in the last year are willing to spend substantially more--21%--with companies they believe provide great service – in contrast with the general population--13% mor-- and those who have not used social media for customer service--11% more. 

In addition, more than 80% of these consumers say they’ve bailed on a purchase because of a poor service experience, compared to 55% overall.

The Big Four Service Gripes (American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer) are:

1)

Rudeness:  An insensitive or unresponsive customer service representative – 33%

2)

Passing the Buck:  Being shuffled around with no resolution of the issue – 26%

3)

The Waiting Game:  Waiting too long to have an issue resolved – 10%

4)

Being Boomeranged:  Forced to continually follow up on an issue – 10% 

 

However, despite the greater value consumers place on customer service, it’s reported that many centers don't make the grade.

  • 60%--6 in 10 people believe businesses haven't increased their focus on providing good customer service -- up from 55% in 2010.
  • Among this group, 26% think companies are actually paying less attention to service.

Consumers feel most centers fail to get the message that service matters. Nearly two-thirds of consumers feel companies aren't paying enough attention to service:

  • Two in five--42%--said centers are helpful but don't do anything extra to keep their business.

·        One in five--22%--think their business is taken for granted.

According to the Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report, 86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience--up from 59% just 4 years ago.

Customers are smarter than ever and looking for more value.  More than just customer service, they want a great customer experience.  If you can’t deliver, your customers are a click away to your competition.

The White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC, says that 59% of customers will try a new brand or company for a better service experience.  And it’s been noted in many articles that dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience. About 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 24 people up 50% from 2011.  On the other hand, however, happy customers who get their issue resolved only tell about 4 to 6 people about their experience.

Ruby Newell-Legner, author of Understanding Customers, says it takes 12 positive service experiences to make up for one negative experience

Bottom line:  Customer Service Matters!  And customers are willing to pay for it!  Give your representatives the tools, the techniques, the customer service skills training and the support needed to deliver world class customer service.

ROSANNE D'AUSILIO, Ph.D., an industrial psychologist, consultant, master trainer, best selling author, executive coach, customer service expert, President of Human Technologies Global, specializes in human performance management providing needs analyses, instructional design, and customized customer service skills trainings as well as executive/leadership coaching.  Also offered is agent/facilitator university certification through Purdue University’s Center for Customer Driven Quality.

 

Known as 'the practical champion of the human,' she authors 7 best sellers “Wake Up Your Call Center: Humanize Your Interaction Hub,” 4th ed, “Customer Service and the Human Experience,” “Lay Your Cards on the Table: 52 Ways to Stack Your Personal Deck (includes 32-card deck of cards), How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: 101 Insider Tips, Vol I and II, The Expert’s Guide to Customer Service, Vol I and II as well as her popular complimentary ‘tips’ newsletter on How To Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch! at http://www.HumanTechTips.com 

 

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