Here’s a customer service statistic that will stop you in your tracks: 47% of customers say they’ll stop buying from a company if they have a subpar experience. The same study reveals that 76% of customers now say it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere.
With so many customers willing to switch to another business, it makes you wonder — are we doing enough to meet customer expectations? Are we evolving our customer service to keep pace with evolving technologies? Is our customer service the best possible representation of our brand?
Bad customer service will cost you and your company money. Research indicates that in the U.S. alone, $62 billion is lost each year due to poor customer service. It’s a mind-blowing figure, especially when you can’t do anything about it. According to another recent study, 91% of customers who are unhappy with a brand will leave without complaining. This process of ‘quiet abandonment’ can adversely affect a company’s image.
Customer service statistics that show the importance of keeping customers happy
- A customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related rather than price or product related (Bain & Company).
- The majority of Americans have decided not to make a purchase because of a poor customer service experience (American Express).
- It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience (Ruby Newell-Legner’s “Understanding Customers”).
- It costs 6-7 times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer (Kolsky).
- 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated (McKinsey & Company).
- 62% of customers say they share their bad experiences with others (Salesforce Research).
It’s not all doom and gloom though. The same study by Salesforce showed that 72% of customers will share their good experiences with others. That’s a full 10% more positives than negatives.
Customer service facts indicate that by improving your service, you can also boost revenue. Salesforce found that a great experience is key to setting up a regular customer, with 67% of people saying they’d pay extra to get it.
Characteristics of positive customer service
With all that in mind, the following customer service statistics taken from our “State of the Connected Customer” report highlight some hallmarks of good customer service. According to the report, focusing on digital experience can help you to reap the rewards of a positive customer experience. For example:
- 70% of customers say service agents’ awareness of sales interactions is very important to keeping their business.
- 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is just as important as its products or services.
- 59% of customers believe that companies need to provide cutting-edge digital experiences to keep their business.
- 88% of people trust companies that vow not to share their personal information without permission.
- 92% appreciate companies giving them control over what information is collected about them.
- 79% of customers are willing to share relevant information about themselves in exchange for contextualized interactions in which they’re immediately known and understood.
What’s the impact of subpar customer service?
- 27% of Americans report that ineffective customer service is their number one frustration (Statista).
- Another 12% of Americans rate their number one frustration as “lack of speed” (Statista).
- 72% of customers say that explaining their problems to multiple people is poor customer service (Dimensional Research).
- 79% of consumers who used feedback to complain about poor customer experience online were ignored (Harris Interactive).
- 33% of consumers would recommend a brand that provides a quick but ineffective response (Nielsen-McKinsey).
- Only 17% of consumers would recommend a brand that provides a slow but effective solution (Nielsen-McKinsey).
Customer service channels: How business use and customer use differ
When customers need to contact a service representative, their first decision is usually the mode of communication. The average customer says they use 10 different channels to communicate with companies — ranging from telephone calls to voice-activated personal assistants. Customer service teams, who use an average of nine channels, are in a race to meet omni-channel expectations.
The chart below compares data from two Salesforce research reports — one survey of customer service professionals and another of customers (consumers and business buyers combined). We can see that service organizations are mostly aligned with customer expectations around more established channels like email, but there are big gaps for others like mobile apps and voice-activated assistants. Some of the highlights:
- 66% of customer service teams use knowledge bases, compared to 82% of customers who use knowledge bases (e.g., online FAQs).
- 64% of customer service teams use customer portals, compared to 84% of customers who use customer portals.
- 63% of customer service teams use text messaging, compared to 78% of customers who use text messaging for communicating with a company.
- 52% of customer service teams use online chat or live support, compared to 81% of customers who use online chat or live support for communicating with a company.
- 51% of customer service teams use mobile apps, compared to 82% of customers who use mobile apps for communicating with a company.
- 20% of customer service teams use voice-activated personal assistants, compared to 54% of customers who use voice assistants to communicate with a company.
Statistics showing the difference between top customer service teams and others
We surveyed more than 3,500 customer service agents and decision makers worldwide to compare how teams are achieving — or not achieving — high-quality customer service and retention. The findings, published in the “State of Service” report, show the differences between high performers, moderate performers, and underperformers in the customer service field. Highlights include:
- 88% of high-performing service decision makers are making significant investments in agent training compared to only 57% of underperformers.
- 83% of high-performing service agents say they get the training they need to do their job well compared to only 52% of underperformers.
- 69% of high-performing service agents are actively looking for situations to use artificial intelligence (AI) compared to only 39% of underperformers.
How are customer service teams using artificial intelligence?
The emergence of AI and other customer service trends have led to many companies adapting a broader set of tools and technologies. AI use covers a range of duties including gathering basic information, handling routine customer issues (tracking orders and re-setting passwords), and pre-filling fields. Customer service statistics (also from the “State of Service” report) show that service teams are projected to increase their use of AI by 143% over the next 18 months.
The following customer service findings point to a future increasingly fueled by AI:
- High-performing service teams are 3.2 times more likely than underperformers to have a defined AI strategy.
- 51% of agents without AI say they spend most of their time on mundane tasks, versus 34% of agents with AI.
- More financial services firms are adopting AI, with 41% using some form of AI compared to other sectors. For example, only 13% of education institutions are using AI.
- Only 9% of governments use AI chatbots as opposed to 42% of media and communications companies.
- Showing the highest projected growth rate, customer service teams in the travel and hospitality industry expect AI use to grow 187% over the next 18 months.
Looking ahead, 82% of service decision-makers say their company’s customer service must transform to stay competitive. Service is set to change globally as countries adopt new ways to please their customers.
For a closer look at customer service statistics, get the complete research report.