The importance of customer support was put perfectly by Forrester in their blog: “customer service organizations have to deliver easy and effective service. If they don't, customers will leave the brand. They will also complain to their networks about their experience. These emotions can get rapidly amplified in the world of social media and ultimately lead to brand erosion.”
And yet, so many companies are getting it wrong. Is yours?
We pulled together ten telling statistics on customer service to test your customer service IQ!
Q1: What % of customers have abandoned a transaction because of a poor service experience?
A1: 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.* Poor customer service can lead to the loss of valuable business, as it’s critical to the sales process and important to a healthy dynamic between the company and the customer.
Q2: What % of customers hung up the phone out of frustration at waiting for a live agent?
A2: 67% of customers have hung up the phone out of frustration they could not talk to a real person.* Customer support over the phone is a double-edged sword: it can be extremely helpful to the customers who finally get an agent, but those who are still waiting on hold for long periods of time become infuriated. Insufficient availability of live agents for phone support can hurt the business more than its helps the customers, especially when there are other, better options.
Q3: What % was web self-service used over phone support in 2014?
A3: 76% reported using Web or mobile self-service, more than speaking with agents over the phone.** Web self-service use increased from 67 percent in 2012 to 76 percent in 2014. There’s a reason these alternatives are growing - they’re what the customer wants and needs.
Q4: How much has live chat adoption among customers risen from 2009 to 2015?
A4: 27 percentage points - Live chat offers a much quicker connection to a live agent and is easily accessed without leaving the website. This has led to online chat adoption among customers significantly rising in the past few years, from 38% in 2009 to 43% in 2012 to 65% in 2015.**
Q5: Do you know what 73% of customers say a company should value most for good customer support?
A5: Their time - Valuing customers' time is the most important thing companies can do to provide them with good customer support.** Making customers wait for a live agent or forcing them to call in for support that should be available online can be frustrating and time-consuming for both parties. It’s better to give customers the quickest option first: self-service.
Q6: What % of customers think it takes too long to reach a live agent via chat or phone?
A6: 75% - Unless you’re willing to invest in having agents readily available, you’re certain to make some customers wait too long, with most customers already believing it takes too long to reach a live agent.***. In order to satisfy most customers, a live person must be available in under two minutes, which can heavily stress any business.
Q7: What % of customers will abandon their online purchases if they can’t find quick answers to their questions?
A7: 53% - Long waiting times directly affect the bottom line, since many customers are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can't find quick answers to their questions.** Online customers are impatient and used to a world of easy-access and instant gratification. If one business cannot immediately provide what the customer needs, there are plenty others that are only a click away.
Q8: What do 39% of millennial customers check first when they have a question?
A8: Your FAQs - Self-service is growing in popularity, where 39% of millennials check a company’s FAQ first when they have a question.**** That’s more than a third of all potential millennial customers answering their questions themselves, rather than getting frustrated while waiting for a live agent and clogging up customer support infrastructure. Making answers openly available online and maintaining comprehensive support FAQs is also much simpler and cheaper than paying live agents to be available.
Q9: On average, how many out of 10 Americans will spend more because of excellent customer service?
in 10.* Giving customers access to what they want is imperative, especially when it comes to providing customer service. It’s an investment that pays off.
Q10: On average, how many out of 5 Americans say they would try a new brand or company for a better service experience?
A10: 3 in 5.* Customer support is what separates companies in the eyes of customers. It’s a crucial competitive edge.
Well, that’s all the facts for now. How did you do? Perhaps more importantly, how is your company doing?
Written by Evan Oeflein
* 2011, Global Customer Service Barometer, American Express.
** 2015, Customer Life-Cycle Marketing Online Survey, Forrester. 1/28/16 blog.
*** 2010, Customer Experience Impact Report, Oracle / RightNow / Harris Interactive
**** 2015, State of Service Report, Salesforce Research