About six months ago I posted a blog post about Customer Service – What makes a company great? Along with some guidelines and a few dos and don’ts to help with what is one of the most important aspects of any business, big or small, as discussed in aforementioned blog post.
Well now I’d like to revisit this topic, not because, as some may think I am running out of topics, ‘au contraire’ but due to the fact that there has been a benchmark report on the subject of customer service published and the statistics are, to say the least, alarming, however they make for an interesting read.
The report, ‘2017 Customer service benchmark report’ from Super office is twenty-five pages long and explores three areas:-
- How the companies compare to each other in customer service.
- How the companies manage and respond to customer support requests.
- What can we learn from ‘best in class’ companies.
The findings came up with seven key areas, however before we look at those, we will have a look at the introduction, methodology, and key findings before I bore you with a load of facts.
Please read on, your business could depend on it.
Loyal and happy customers are the lifeblood of any business. They contribute to a healthy business, create new customers and act as referrals for future customers. On the other hand, in the world of social media an unhappy customer can share their complaints to thousands of friends, connections and followers which could in turn, lead to business failure.
Like I said your business could depend on it, nothing spreads quicker than a “Name and Shame”.
The report goes onto say “most companies know that they need and should deliver excellent customer service. But interestingly enough, here comes the science bit, research shows that while 80% of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service; in fact only 8% of customers believe they are actually receiving excellent service.”
That seems such a HUGE difference.
Why did the businesses believe they were giving excellent customer service? What were they doing or not doing? And why did such a low percentage of customers believe they were getting excellent customer service? What were the customers expecting but not getting to score so badly.
Here’s what the company carrying out the research did.
They analysed the customer service quality of five hundred companies across the world, both small and large companies and to keep the study simple they sent one email to each company with the following two questions.
- Do you have a phone number I can call you on?
- Where can I find pricing information on your website?
Based on the speed, quality and tone, they then scored each response out of one hundred, where one is poor and one hundred is excellent.
The responses were based on the following categories:-
- Was the contact information easy to find?
- Did the company acknowledge the support request?
- How long did it take for the company to respond?
- Were both questions answered in the first reply?
- Did the company follow up to see if we were happy with the level of support?
And here are the findings – “if I can have the envelope, please”. However before I make the announcement, can I just say that before reading the report it was thought that
- Customer Service is a priority to most, if not all, companies.
- Smaller companies would manage customer service better than bigger ones.
- All companies would respond quickly to customer service requests.
Well the study found that (drum roll, opens envelope):-
- 41% of companies did not respond to a customer service request.
- 90% of companies did not acknowledge an email had been received.
- 99% of companies did not follow up with customers.
- 11% of companies answered both questions in the first reply.
- The average response time to handle a customer service request was 15 hours.
The results speak for themselves.
In the next blog, one of four, I will be going over the first two of seven key areas which contribute to good customer service as well as sharing some best practice tips.
Till next time.