New research out by Helpscout is proof that for every employee that gets sub-par customer service ratings, you’ll need two excellent customer service employees just to stay average on your customer service scores! That means you’ll need to hire three strong customer service reps to grow your business, since, let’s face it, without customer service, your company is not going to grow, let alone survive.
Helpscout has found that on average, consumers tell nine people about good experiences they had with a company. (HelpScout, 2013) Of course, this is every marketers dream scenario: the power of a word-of-mouth campaign fueled by customer service. What marketers are less happy about is that far more people will complain to their friends and family about a bad customer service experience.
On average, some sixteen people will hear your company’s name cursed to high heaven if one of your customers has a bad customer service experience. That’s nearly double what a good experience will get you, hence our 2 to 1 ratio.
What Your Customers Aren’t Telling You Could Fill a Library
In the same survey, Helpscout found that just over 85% of consumers will go to a competitor if the customer service is subpar. But are you going to hear from those disenchanted individuals before they slam the door in your face? You absolutely won’t. Only 4% of dissatisfied customers will bother to tell you that they think your customer service is terrible. (HelpScout, 2013) Using the slamming door analogy isn’t even applicable here—when your customers go, they tip toe out of the room and never give you a chance to apologize.
So what’s to be done about it? Well, for starters, you can’t hire just anyone to run your customer service team. You’ll need your interviewers to properly vet each prospective employee, testing for soft skills, identifying strong areas and previous customer service skills. Not everyone is going to be a customer service expert, but you’ll need a crop of individuals that aren’t afraid to learn those skills once they’re hired on.
Proper training is also essential, and by that I don’t just mean the week or two spent in the classroom. The best training happens when your employees are actually working. This is where good coaching and other teaching methods come in.
Hiring the right people and training them to be customer service experts is the true key to success here. Some 40% of consumers say improved interaction with service employees is what makes them want to continue doing business with them. Similarly, 73% of consumers said they stopped buying from a brand altogether because the customer service was either rude or incompetent or both. (HelpScout, 2013)
Excellent Customer Service Reaps Serious Benefits
Once you prove to your customers that you’re serious about providing good customer service, they will stick with you for life. Research found that loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase (HelpScout 2013). It was also found that when a consumer is really wowed by a customer service experience, 3 times out of 4 he or she is going to tell their friends and family about it. That’s huge, and the more we as companies understand this and make customer service a top, top priority, there’s hope for serious growth in 2013 and beyond.