Most business owners spend countless hours searching for ways to acquire new customers. Unfortunately, few dedicate as much energy to keeping the ones they already have.
To make sure your clients don't jump ship, learn why great customer service could be your best marketing strategy.
A Bird in the Hand is Worth Three in the Bush
Most business owners believe they can only grow by obtaining new customers. In reality, you have only a 5 to 20 percent chance of selling to new prospects, compared to a 60 to 70 percent chance of acquiring business from existing customers. That's a big difference that should encourage greater investment in retention tactics. But what is the best way to strengthen a relationship? In almost every situation, the answer is better customer service.
What Turns Customers Off?
According to recent surveys, customer satisfaction is at an all-time low throughout most of the country. While the reasons can vary from person to person, most agree on a few specific culprits. The Consumer Reports National Research Center recently surveyed over 1,000 adults, asking them to rate specific customer service irritants from "tremendously irritating" to “not annoying at all." After reviewing the options, respondents rated the following as the greatest turn-offs.
75% - Unable to speak with live person on the telephone
75% - Rude or condescending customer service representatives
74% - Getting disconnected during a call
71% - Unable to speak with the same agent after getting disconnected
70% - Getting transferred to an agent or department that cannot help with a problem
68% - Companies that hide or fail to provide a customer support phone number
66% - Excessive hold times
66% - Excessive phone-menu steps
66% - Being asked the same information repeatedly
65% - When agents offer inappropriate or useless solutions
64% - Being ignored by salespeople
62% - Not knowing whether disconnected or on hold
62% - Not being allowed to speak to a supervisor
61% - Needed option missing from phone menu
61% - Poorly-functioning voice-recognition system
60% - Getting a sales pitch for unrelated services
60% - Pushy salespeople
Investing in Better Customer Service
If your customer service has any of these traits, it's time to make changes. Depending on your organization structure and budget, this might mean hiring more personnel, conducting rigorous training or outsourcing to an executive-level customer service provider. Whatever the case, it's clear that an investment in customer service can go a long way toward increasing your overall revenue by improving retention rates.