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24 Data-Backed Reasons Why Great Customer Support is Your Most Important Marketing Strategy

by Robbie Richards · Mar 1 2016

Each year US companies lose $41 billion due to poor customer service.

The internet and social media has made it possible for consumers to leverage multiple channels to communicate, complain and interact with brands.

As a result, consumers now have unprecedented reach.

A poor experience can circle the globe and return to burn your bottom line in seconds.

As a result, customer support teams are now just as responsible for a company’s brand reputation as the marketing team, and just as important to acquisition and retention as the sales team.

It is the #1 reason why a customer will choose to do business with you, or jump ship and buy from one of your competitors.

Yet, the majority of businesses still choose not to make the customer experience a top priority.

As you will learn, this is a BIG mistake.

In this post, we’re going to look at 26 statistics that explain why great customer support is now the most important marketing and growth strategy for any business.

#1: Happy customers keep coming back

Data: 52% of consumers have made more purchases from a company after having a good customer service experience (Source: Zendesk) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: We know good support is the key to increasing customer retention, but let’s take a closer look at what that means for your bottom line.

Adobe Group reports that for every 1% of shoppers that return for a subsequent visit, overall revenue will increase around 10%. That means, if you can get 10% of your customers to come back and buy again, you will double revenue.

#2: Happy customers will tell their friends

Data: One happy customer will tell nine other people about their experience. (Source: American Express) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: If you want more word-of-mouth referrals and positive online reviews, make sure your customers are happy.

#3: Very few angry customers will actually complain to your company

Data: For every customer who complains, there are 26 others who don’t say a word. (Source: Lee Resources International) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Customer complaints are just the tip of the iceberg. The majority of your unhappy customers will leave without saying a word.

Instead of dreading customer complaints, think of them as valuable insights. Often, the same thing that is causing one customer to complain is the same thing that is causing many others to leave.

Develop an internal process and invest in a helpdesk ticketing system needed to track complaints, and make sure they are fixed quickly.

#4: But, an unhappy customer will complain to their friends

Data: 95% of customers share bad experiences, and half of those people will tell 10+ others. (Source: Zendesk) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: News of a bad customer experience will travel twice as fast as the praise for a good experience. Take time to remedy the situation as fast as possible. It will not only help you keep that customer, it will also prevent a lot of negative word of mouth exposure for your business.

#5: A poor review will turn potential buyers away before they ever land a “foot” in the door

Data: Eighty-six percent (86%) of consumers will not purchase from a business that has negative online reviews. (Source: Dimensional Research) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Most consumers will conduct some level of online research before they ever interact with your business. In fact, 60% of the sales cycle is over before a buyer talks to your salesperson.

Make sure online user-generated content is attracting customers, and not turning them away. Considering that 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews, it’s a good idea to make customer happiness a priority.

#6: It’s really hard to make up for a bad customer experience

Data: It takes 12 good experiences for a business to make up for a poor one. (Source: Dimensional Research) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: We all mistakes. But always remember, your customers are very unforgiving. Second chances are rare, and when you do get one, the road back to “good-standing” is a long one.

#7: If you have a reputation for great service, you can charge more

Data: 86% of consumers are willing to pay up to 25% more for a better customer experience. (Source: RightNow) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Great customer support is rare. As a result, your customers will happily pay a premium of more than 5% for it.

#8: But, if the service sucks, your customers will leave

Data: 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service. (Source: NewVoice) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Your customers have a lot of options when deciding who they do business with. If your service isn’t up to par, the customer will take their money elsewhere.

#9: And, they won’t come back for a long time (if ever)

Data: 39% of customers avoid vendors for 2+ years after a bad experience, while 58% will never use the company again. (Source: NewVoice) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: All it takes is one negative experience to lose a customer for life. Treat every customer interaction as if it were your last, because it could be.

#10: Who won’t come back? Often, your most valuable customers

Data: 79% of high-income people, 51% of B2B clients, and 54% of Gen Xers will avoid your company for two years or more following one bad customer experience. (Source: Zendesk) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: High-income clients have larger budgets, more options and higher expectations. If poor service is an issue, these folks are often the first to leave.

#11: Acquiring a new customer is expensive

Data: It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. (Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Only 16% of companies put their primary focus on customer retention,

If you are a startup, then naturally your initial business objective should be acquiring new customers, but as your customer base grows, start shifting your focus to loyalty and retention.

#12: Selling to an existing customer is much easier

Data: 5-20% probability of selling to a new prospect Vs 60-70% probability of selling to an existing customer (Source: Marketing Metrics) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: You’re up to 14 times more likely to sell to an existing customer! Read that one more time.

Now let it sink in nice and deep.

By selling more to existing customers, businesses are able to spend less marketing a product or service, while still increasing revenues.

(More) revenue - (less) cost = higher profit margins

#13: Good service is the “secret sauce” to growing your bottom line

Data: Businesses that grow their customer retention rates by as little as 5% typically see profit increases ranging from 25% to 95%. (Source: Bain & Company) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Happy customers stay with your longer, which increases customer lifetime value, and profits.

#14: Speaking of customer lifetime value…

Data: On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. (Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Enough said. .

#15: Customer support is fast becoming “the” differentiator for your businesses

Data: By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. (Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: As competition intensifies, companies will rely more heavily on their service-based reputation to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

#16: A lot of companies are already starting to get the message

Data: 77% expect to maintain or grow the size of their team during the next 12-24 months (Deloitte), 63% of companies expect to spend more on customer experience. (Temkin) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Companies that are slow to adopt a ”customer-first” mentality will be left behind.

#17: Poor support = deal-breaker

Data: 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. (Source: American Express Survey, 2011) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: It’s not enough to get people to your site and into the sales funnel. In fact, 7 out of 10 of those people will leave your site before completing the sale.

Make the entire experience from first impression to checkout is as smooth as possible.

#18: Most customers will need help along their path to the checkout page…

Data: 83% of consumers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase. (Source: eConsultancy Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: You need to available for the consumer at every step along the purchase path.

#19: When customers need help, they expect it fast

Data: When purchasing online, 71% of visitors expect help within five minutes. (Source: LivePerson) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: We’re living in an on-demand world. People are used to getting what they want, when they want it. Customer support is no different.

#20: If they don’t get it, there’s a really good chance you’ll lose them

Data: 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. (Source: Forrester) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Whether it’s making information available through a self-service portal, knowledge base or live chat service, make sure customers are able to quickly, and easily, access all the information they need to complete the conversion.

#21: Customers now have much higher expectations

Data: 60% of consumers have higher expectations for customer service now than they did just one year ago. (Source: 2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Avoid the “set-it-and-forget-it” mentality. Make it your #1 priority to Invest in the tools, training and personnel needed to continually improve the customer experience.

#22: Meet those expectations and you could have could have a customer for life

Data: 73% of consumers say friendly customer service reps can make them fall in love with a brand. (Source: RightNow) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: Often, a big smile and friendly demeanor can provide the highest ROI for any business.

#23: The Pareto principle still applies

Data: 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. (Source: Gartner Group) Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: I’ll say it one more time for good measure…

Keeping your current customers happy should be a top business goal in 2016.

#24: A lot of your customers prefer to talk to you online

Data: 38% of customers prefer to talk to customer service online or via email about simple issues. (Source: American Express)

In fact. 1/3 of consumers say they would “rather clean a toilet” than speak with customer service in person Click-to-tweet

Takeaway: More consumers are leveraging online channels for customer support. Make sure resources are available online, and make it easy to submit a support request if the desired information is not immediately available.

Are you ready to make customer support a priority in 2016?

The statistics shown above should paint a pretty compelling picture about the importance of customer service when it comes to customer acquisition, retention and long term profitability.

83% of consumers need some type of assistance during their online journey,

That means every online business has a lot of opportunities to deliver great customer service and gain a competitive advantage in 2016.

Often, the first step is investing in the right tools, training and processes to integrate a strong customer service offering across each level of your organization.

Try our helpdesk software free today.