CUSTOMER SERVICE: A LOST ART?

By James Cassidy

What is it about people not acknowledging you, attempting to engage or even smiling when you walk into their organization? What does it take to be even a little bit friendly? Can’t they even pick their heads up from whatever they are doing so I know they’re alive? I can tell you that it is a costly mistake to ignore people. “Customer service is the new marketing” is no longer just a trite turn of phrase. In fact, great service is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense. Here are a couple of statistics that illustrate the true cost of bad support:

  • 86% of consumers quit doing business with a company due to poor customer service.
  • 51% of consumers said they would only try to reach support once before giving up.
  • On average, consumers tell 9 people about good customer service experiences and 16 people about bad ones.
  • 40% of customers say improved interactions with a service employee is their key driver for spending more money with a company.
  • When asked what their top reasons were for giving up on a brand or service 73% of customers cited rude and incompetent staff as the primary issue.
  • It’s 6 times more expensive to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one.

Businesses (including community nonprofit organizations) will have to learn that commitment to good customer service should be more than a mantra. Bad customer service gets talked about and has the potential to significantly disrupt consumer engagement and purchasing. Bad customer service can cost you money in the short term (through abandoned transactions), in the long term (through the loss of repeat business), and will make attracting new customers so much more difficult (due to negative ‘word of mouth’). Companies and nonprofit organizations who want to be in business for the long haul will have to be serious about eliminating bad customer service. This will mean having systems in place to deal with issues quickly, efficiently and with an emphasis on positive interactions with customers.

This past Christmas, my 16 year old son went shopping for a gift for his mother. He decided to buy her clothing and like most young men, he was clueless about what to get. He told me that he walked into the women’s department and he must have had that look of “I’m lost” on his face. A clerk approached him, and he tried to explain what he wanted. Recognizing he needed help, she jumped into action, shopping the store for him, picking out the perfect gift, and even wrapping it for him. My grateful son dropped a few coins in that store. If that clerk had not been attentive to him, he would likely have left. Now he is a loyal customer. That’s customer service. That’s how an engaged worker performs. It didn’t take much. No heavy lifting. Just a well-trained employee who cared about the customer. And that’s what it is all about.

LUK, Inc. takes great pride in being an approachable and welcoming community-based social service agency in Central Massachusetts.  In 2014, surveys to agency participants found that in areas of courtesy, respect, helpfulness and professionalism LUK Inc. scored a 98% approval rate.

Statistical Sources

White House Office of Consumer Affairs

American Express Survey 2011

Right Now Customer Experience Impact Report 2012

2012 Global Customer Service Barometer

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