Good customer service is powerful for any company. Through word of mouth, positive experiences resonate through people’s networks. You can attract new customers while also retaining your current ones, making them more loyal.
As Jeff Bezos put it: “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job everyday to make every important aspect of customer experience a little bit better.”
Word of mouth marketing is one of the most valuable forms of marketing with 92% of consumers believing recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.
We wanted to find the link between word of mouth marketing and customer service.
Just how powerful is word of mouth marketing? Could a trusted friend’s recommendation be enough to convince a customer to return to a company they previously received bad customer service from?
So we asked 1000 consumers the following question:
You’ve received bad customer service from a company in the past. How likely would you be to try them again if a trusted friend recommended them based on incredible service?
What we thought would happen
We all know that if customer service is good, customers are more likely to come back.
But what if the service is bad?
We assumed customers would be more likely to return when influenced by a trusted friend. This assumption is based on the plethora of statistics supporting the idea that word of mouth marketing is a powerful asset and almost guaranteed to work, for example:
- People are (77%) more likely to purchase a product when they learn about it from friends and family
- 81% of consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts
With stats like those, we thought we would be proving our hypothesis. But the results told a very different story.
We were shocked to discover that almost 60% of consumers said they were unlikely or very unlikely to return to a business they had experienced poor customer service from, even if a trusted friend said the service had improved.
Only 12.5% of consumers said they would be likely or very likely to try a company again.
It seems customers don’t let their friends’ opinions affect their choices to buy.
What this means for your business
Customers are staying loyal to their disloyalty; there is little to no room for error. Businesses need to get customer support right the first time as there are often no second chances.
We looked deeper into the reasons why this could be the case, spoke to businesses who have experienced losing customers, and uncovered the best methods for retaining customers after bad customer service experiences. Read the full report here.
4 ways you can improve customer service right now
Customer service and customer experience go hand in hand and have a direct incidence on your brand image and trust. However, there are a few things any business can do to instantly improve the quality of their customer service.
A large part of customer service is being available when the customer needs you. If you’re not there immediately for the moments they truly need you, whether it is tech support or an insurance claim after a disaster, you’ll automatically lose points.
Customers value face-to-face interactions, though that is a rarity today. Try to compensate by giving users multiple ways they can seek support like voice, chat and social media, so they can reach out in the way most comfortable for them.
Avoid the “digital dive”; this is where employees hide behind email to avoid dealing with employees directly. They need to be willing to pick up the phone and call people back. And avoid disruptions when dealing with a customer. This means that the person standing in front of you takes precedence over that phone call.
Offer Special Services
If you can offer services your rivals can’t, you have an extra selling point for potential customers. A benefit of these add-on services is that you don’t have to change the products themselves.
If you can provide a luxury of some sort, even a small one, your customers will feel taken care of. And luxuries can be something you can offer that they’d be willing to pay more for. Customers truly appreciate the unexpected surprises, though you can plan these “wows”.
Furthermore, special services and little favors go a long way toward customer retention. Plus you avoid the constant promotions others only give to new customers.
Create a Sense of Community
You can create a sense of community for your customers. It may be an interactive part of your website. It could be an open house at your place of business or manufacturing facility. It could be regular educational events held at your business. You could partner with local businesses or similar service providers to hold events that draw large crowds, connecting your business with the community while creating a sense of community with others.
Focus on the First Impression
The first impression is truly the most important. Your customers should leave every interaction with your customer service team on a positive note. Your employees should also be willing to admit when they don’t know something and seek out assistance when needed. Customers appreciate it when employees are proactive in asking how they can be of service instead of waiting for the customer to come to them.
Following up with customers after their visit or purchase builds loyalty, and it improves the odds they’ll buy from you in the future. For example, good customer service increases the odds your customers will re-subscribe and stay with you for years, if you have a subscription service.
A positive customer experience is essential if you want to build a bond with your audience, encourage loyalty and enhance consumer retention. Do not cut corners if you want your brand image to be a positive one.