Why startups should focus on strong customer service [Infographic]

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As the saying goes, “the client is king” and, just like kings, customers expect to be well-served. While some companies may shrug off the importance of focusing on customer service, especially in a young online startup, building a solid reputation is crucial for long term sustainability.

Poor customer service could cause your company to get a negative reputation resulting in a loss of current customers and a negative perception by potential future customers. On top of these lasting effects, poor customer service can cost a company large sums of money in the short term. According to the infographic below, produced by Kissmetrics, poor customer service cost companies in the United States US $83 billion and companies worldwide a whopping $338 billion in 2012.

Kissmetrics's survey of consumers in the UK also revealed that 78% of customers have abandoned a transaction due to poor customer service, and 89% of customers have reported that they’ve stopped doing business with a company because of a bad customer service experience.

So what do customers look for from a brand? 78% of respondents said that they expect friendly employees or customer service representatives, whereas 55% prefer the ability to easily find information or the help they need on their own. 36% look for personalized experiences and 33% specifically choose brands with a good reputation.

When it comes to how quickly consumers expect a brand to respond, 50% of consumers think that one full day is a fair amount of time to respond before they stop doing business with a specific brand.

What can a brand do to improve service?

Knowing the priorities of consumers helps a brand know what type of support matters most to their customers. According to the infographic, 58% of consumers note that their expectations were not met because the company was unavailable by phone or email.

When available, the customer service agent's attitude and competence is critical for the customer's experience; 57% of respondents said company employees are "clueless" and some even feel that they know more about the company than the customer service agent. 51% said companies are impersonal and 34% said agents are forgetful and can’t even remember a consumer they had recently spoken with.

56% of respondents lamented that companies are often slow to resolve issues and 16% said they don’t like when brands are anti-social, meaning they are nowhere to be found on social networking sites.

It pays to have good customer service.

Fast responses and easy availability go a long way in restoring faith in a consumer’s mind and creating loyal customers. Consumers are often even willing to pay extra for a good customer service experience; 70% of consumers are willing to spend between an extra 7% (Netherlands) and 22% (India) for better personal attention.

Check out the infographic below for more global trends in customer satisfaction and customer service opportunities. Click on the graphic for a larger image.

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