34 Customer Service Stats and Facts You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Oct 17, 2019

customer service representative

We all understand the basic value of customer service, knowing that if we aren’t able to deliver a good customer experience, they’re going to walk away unsatisfied. Better customer service means happier customers, which means more profit, better retention rates, and an easier job growing your company.

But what exactly does that look like, and how much can it really impact your business?

We know that your business decisions are going to be based heavily on data and research, so we collected 34 of the most important customer service statistics that you can’t afford to ignore.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the current state of customer service, the profitability potential of a great customer experience, what customers are expecting, and so much more.

The Current State of Customer Service 

In order to know where we’re going, it’s important to know where we’ve been and where we are now. These statistics were compiled from multiple different case studies to assess the current state of customer service as a whole today. 

  • 40% of American customers said they believe businesses have increased their attention on customer service recently. 
  • 54% of consumers across the globe said that their own customer service expectations have risen in the past year. 
  • 81% of customers in one case study found that their expectations weren’t met in their last customer service interaction. 
  • Companies around the world respond to customer service questions an average of 85% of the time, meaning that 15% of all customer inquiries are going ignored. 
  • According to one study, 68% of consumers stated that the key to excellent customer service is a polite rep. 
  • 30% of consumers expressed that not being able to reach a real person when they needed to was the most frustrating part of a poor customer service experience. 
  • As many as 12% of US consumers listed “lack of speed” as their primary frustration with customer service. 

The Platforms Consumers Are Using for Customer Service 

Wondering which platforms customers are drawn to, what you should prioritize, or how to best connect with your customers? Unfortunately, the answer is pretty much “all of them,” and you’re expected to adapt to each one quickly. 

Consider the following:

  • All things being equal, 62% of customers want to communicate with companies through email, while 48% prefer phone, 42% look for live chat options, and 36% use “Contact Us” forms. That being said, they may have different preferences depending on what they need.
  • For complicated interactions or those that involve sensitive or secure information, 40% of customers prefer talking to someone over the phone instead of using email, live chat, or help desk forms. 
  • Only one-third of consumers think that chatbot interactions are “very effective;” others would prefer speaking to a real person. 
  • 74% of Millennials report that their perception of a business is improved when it’s obvious that the business responds to customers’ interactions on social media.
  • Nearly a third of all consumers have said they send mobile or SMS messages to companies if they need assistance and this feature is available. 
  • 63% of Millennials start their customer service interactions online, either through a contact form, a help desk, or live chat of some sort. 
  • 79% of Millennials are more inclined to buy from brands who have mobile-responsive portals for customer support. 

Statistics About Customer Expectations 

Customer expectations are important, because if we’re not meeting – and exceeding – them we’ll struggle to stand out or retain their business. And it’s clear that expectations around customer service are continually increasing, so let’s take a look at what these new standards are:

  • 90% of consumers believe that an “immediate” response is important or very important when they have a customer service question, which is defined as ten minutes or less by 60% of those surveyed.  (This is why you need live answering services like PATLive and live chat set up and ready to go.) 
  • 48% of consumers expect to see a response on social media within 24 hours, including private messaging. 
  • Another study found that 30% of people believe that the most important aspect of customer service is speaking to a friendly and knowledgeable agent promptly.
  • As many as 72% of consumers expect that customer service agents should be able to know who they are, what they’ve purchased, and have insights into their previous engagements. This requires businesses to make use of a strong CRM system.  
  • 75% of customers want a consistent customer service experience across all platforms, whether they’re engaging in person, over the phone, or on social media. 
  • Gen Z consumers will make up 40% of the US consumer marketplace by 2020. According to this article, Gen Z prefers customer service experiences that are heavily integrated with technology, which include interactions that are both entertaining and instantaneous. 

The Connection Between Customer Service & Client Retention

Customer service isn’t a precautionary measure designed to appease angry customers who have already purchased from you or to try to prevent negative reviews from being published online. Instead, it should play an active role in engaging and serving your customers even if they haven’t purchased yet, because good customer service will influence their decision to purchase. Strong customer service can lead to a direct increase in your client satisfaction and retention rates, and the research proves it: 

  • The #1 reason customers can be swayed to swap brands is that they’ll feel unappreciated by the current one. 
  • As many as 70% of unhappy customers who have their problems resolved are willing to do business with the same company again, their trust having been re-established. 
  • Unhappy clients will tell as many as 15 people about their negative experience, which could impact their buying decision and cost you sales. 
  • 56% of customers will share personal information in exchange for better service, which can result in client retention. 
  • Customers are 4x more likely to switch to a competitor moving forward if their problem with a brand is service-related, as opposed to being price- or product-related. 
  • 96% of consumers around the world say that customer service is an important influential factor in their choice of brands and their loyalty to their chosen brand. 
  • 93% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases with businesses who have strong customer service. 

The Profitability Of Good Customer Service 

Strong customer service, of course, can lead to a big boost in profitability. Let’s take a look at some of the statistics that prove this:

  • Consumers are willing to spend up to 17% more on average with a business that has excellent customer service. 
  • Millennials in particular will pay 21% more, on average, to purchase from businesses that have strong customer service. 
  • American customers who have had positive experiences with customer service will tell an average of 11 people.
  • 64% of customers believe that customer service is even more important than price when they’re making a purchasing decision. If your service is strong enough, you can actually charge more because of it; keep that in mind. 

Customer Service Pain Points for Businesses  

While plenty of businesses want to prioritize great customer service, many experience pain points that may make it more difficult. Let’s take a look at the most common and how they’re impacting businesses like yours:

  • 75% of brands say that they’re measuring “customer engagement,” but they couldn’t define to surveyors exactly what that was. 
  • Some brands have expressed difficulty investing in agent training, which is significant; 88% of high-performing service providers make a “significant investment” in training their agents. 
  • 44% of consumers say they’ve received the wrong answer from a customer service rep in the past, making training and keeping your staff up to date a crucial need. 

Final Thoughts 

Customer service is clearly important for your brand’s reputation, it’s growth, and it’s potential profit. All of the data clearly points to this fact, and it’s a strong reminder that investing in your customer service is never something that you’ll regret doing. 

Author:

Jamie Lowary

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