Good or bad, customer service has always been closely tied to the fortunes of consumer-facing brands. But as new research shows, the ubiquity of social media, review sites, and easy online
searching is increasingly magnifying that relationship.
A full 95% of consumers report sharing bad customer-service experiences with others, according to new findings from Dimensional Research and commissioned by cloud-based customer service software platform Zendesk.
An equally impressive 87% of respondents said they shared good interactions with others, according to the survey of 1,046 U.S. consumers, who reported having had a customer service experience within the past year.
With regard to wielding their social networks, almost half (45%) of respondents said they share bad customer service experiences via Facebook, Twitter, and other popular platforms, while 30% reported sharing good customer service experiences via social media.
“Experiences are being shared more widely than ever before and determining whether customers become loyal to a business or turn away for good,” said Diane Hagglund, study lead and Principal at Dimensional Research.
Overall, 58% of respondents said they were more likely to tell others about their customer service experiences today than they were five years ago.
And consumers are not quick to forget a brand’s missteps. On the contrary, nearly 40% of consumers continue to avoid products and services two or more years after a bad customer service experience.
What’s more, high-income households are by far the most likely (79%) to hold grudges against offending brands, Dimensional Research found.
“Our survey … found that customer experiences -- whether good or bad -- impact long-term business,” Hagglund added. "We're living in an age where customers must come first, or companies will face the consequences.”
What’s the surest strategy for resolving customer complaints? Haste, the research showed. Indeed, the most important factor cited by survey respondents was a quick resolution of their problem (69%), followed by being helped by a pleasant person (65%).
Remarkably, the actual outcome of the problem was least important with less than half of respondents (47%) indicating that their customer service interaction was good because of the outcome.
When making a buying decision, a clear majority (88%) of respondents say they have been influenced by an online customer service review.