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Archive for October 23, 2012

Customer Service Statistics


Customer service and customer experience are two buzz phrases used frequently in the business world – companies are trying hard to make sure customers are satisfied and continue to return. But, how are we doing?


I came across an interesting Slideshare presentation that includes 75 customer service facts and quotes. I’ve shared it below, but wanted to highlight some of the more interesting figures:


Of your dissatisfied customers, you will only hear from 4% of them. The other 96% don’t complain, and 91% of them just won’t come back. Customer feedback can be hard to obtain – people don’t always want to share feedback or take time to fill out a survey. There are others who think that they shouldn’t “waste their time” giving feedback because a company won’t do anything about it.


What you can do: make sure feedback options are plentiful. Offer multiple ways to offer feedback so customers are more inclined to do so. Try a more “in the moment” feedback option, such as a Feedbox program. When you do hear negative feedback, be sure to address it publicly to let customers know you care and will do something to make the next experience better.


70% of customers will do business with you again if you address their complaints. Listening to customers and trying to “make it right” with them can pay off big time in the long run. You can reduce that 91% statistic above if you take the time to resolve customer conflicts and dissatisfaction.


80% of businesses feel they provide superior customer service, while only 8% of their customers think they do. That number is staggering; if you are seeing this disconnect in numbers, it’s time to investigate why customers do not feel you are providing the service you think you do.


75% of consumers feel it takes too long to reach a live person on the phone. With phone tree hell and voice activated prompts, customers can easily get frustrated. Use an objective method to evaluate the process by which customers are assisted on the phone. Incorporate subjective feedback into the process to make sure your customers are heard. There could be some easy fixes to make the phone experience more efficient and pleasant for your customers.


Take a look at the other statistics and quotes, and use it as a discussion point within your company. How do you perceive your customer service levels? How does your customer perceive them? If you haven’t done research in some time to learn what your customer and employees are thinking, you may want to invest in programs to measure the experience from all angles to make sure you’re doing all you can to provide excellent customer service.





How Do You Include Your Employees?


Employees want to feel valued in their work, and they often times have great ideas to share. How does your company work to make sure your employees are heard and valued? Is your company’s communication the best that it can be?


I heard a great idea that one company does to make sure all employees are “kept in the loop” and their ideas are shared across the board. There is a retail location that keeps an employee log – after each shift, employees are responsible for writing a summary of any issues that came up during their shift, such as register issues, problem customers, issues between employees, etc. They can also share ideas in this log.


At the beginning of each shift, there is a quick meeting with the staff to review the day before’s log so issues can be resolved and discussed. Employees are rewarded for great things that happen and any upcoming events or ideas are shared.


Employees report that this is a great way to communicate and they feel as though they are a part of the company operations. I can imagine that employee morale is higher than it might be at other companies.


What does your company do to make employees feel valued and a part of the team? I’d love to hear your ideas!


Plant a Shopper, Watch Your Business Grow


This was a tag line we’ve used to roll out our Plant a Shopper program, which we started a few years back. This is a great program to use in banks, park districts, fitness centers, and similar industries.


At its most basic level, you can “plant” a shopper into your customer base where they remain for a period of time. During this time, they will act as a normal customer and evaluate various touchpoints of your business. At the end of the period of time, they will provide a more thorough, overall summary of their experience.


Let’s look at a couple of examples to see how this plays out:


* Banking: we would start with a non-customer who will visit a branch to say they’d like information on opening a checking account. This first visit evaluates the experience as a potential customer and how smoothly the account opening process goes. They will keep the account open for a period of time during which they will make transactions both inside the branch and at the drive thru, and perhaps call the customer service line to resolve issues. They may even track if promotional calls or emails are utilized and how this is perceived as a customer. Finally, at the end of their timeframe, they will talk with a Personal Banker and explain that they’d like to close the account to see how it is handled. Does the baker attempt to ‘save’ the account or simply start the closing process?


* Park Districts: many park districts would like to evaluate their instructions or guest presenters at various events. However, sending in a shopper once or even twice during a class schedule may not be enough to get a true picture. Shoppers will start by registering for the class or program to see how it is handled, actually take the class, and at the end provide a full summary regarding their experience.


* Fitness centers: some facilities have a reputation for providing misleading information when customers join, and others are known for making it all but impossible to cancel your membership. Find out exactly what your company is saying and doing to gain new customers and retain them. Shoppers can go in as a potential customer to get information, then not make a committment at that point, but do so if follow up is done. From there, they can be members for a short period of time, and, like a bank evaluation, go into the facility to say they would like to end their membership to see how it is handled.


This is a great program to use when you’d like to see the full lifecycle of a customer. It can give you insight into areas that may need improvement, and may even help tweak your traditional mystery shopping programming, as you could find that what you’re measuring may be fine, but there are areas you haven’t considered in the past that are “falling through the cracks” and need to be addressed.


At any rate, mystery shopping has evolved into a flexible method of covertly evaluating businesses through the eyes of a customer. Utilizing a Plant a Shopper evaluation is just another way to view your service levels.