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People Are Talking—About Your Customer Service, That Is

No matter what type of customer service they receive from your business—good or bad—customers tell others about it both online and off, a study by Zendesk reports. Some 87 percent of customers say they tell others about good customer service. The bad news is that more of them (95 percent) tell people when they have a bad customer service experience. Here’s some more of what the study found:

People are talking—more. Whether it’s our social media culture or the trend toward reviewing everything, more than half of the survey respondents admit they tell others about customer service experiences more often than they did five years ago. And what they say carries weight, with 88 percent of consumers in the study saying online reviews about customer service have influenced their purchasing behavior.

Bad experiences stick more than good ones. If you do provide shoddy service, be prepared to pay—and pay. Nearly four in 10 consumers say it would take them two or more years to return to a company that provided bad service. In addition, 45 percent of respondents use social media to share stories of poor service, while just 30 percent use it to share stories about good service.

It’s not the solution, but the approach, that matters. One surprising result of the survey: When customers had a problem with a business, they didn’t care as much about whether the problem was resolved as they did about how employees handled it. Responding to a problem quickly, and being nice while handling the issue, are the biggest factors in whether customers feel like they got good customer service or not.

Watch your reviews. As with social media in general, customers were more likely to share negative experiences on ratings and review sites than they were positive ones. This makes it crucial to monitor what ratings you’re getting on these sites and to contact the authors of negative reviews quickly.

Keep it positive. Whether you’re responding to customers in person, online on social media or via email or other private means, keep in mind that these days every interaction is transparent and can be shared with the world almost instantly. That makes it more important than ever to hire customer service employees who have a passion for people, are friendly and can maintain a calm, positive attitude—no matter what.

Image by Flickr user S Packwood (Creative Commons)


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