“Your call is very important to us. Please continue holding for the next available customer service representative.” (cue elevator music)


How many times have you heard those words and that annoying music while sitting on hold waiting to speak with a real person who can answer your question or resolve an issue for you? Probably too many times to count! In reality, you and I both know if your call was actually “very important” to that particular company, you wouldn’t have to wait on hold for what seems like an eternity!

Manifestations of Poor Customer Service

Unfortunately, customer service ain’t what it used to be! Have you evaluated the effectiveness of your customer service lately? Watch for signs and complaints that show your customer service is failing to impress your customers. Having to wait too long on hold is a common complaint (cited by 3 out of 4 consumers). Other indicators of poor customer service include:

  • Automated phone systems that are confusing and don’t offer the options needed (ever get lost in a frustrating loop that never ends?)
  • Unhelpful and impolite staff (an “I can’t be bothered” attitude)
  • Waiting in a long line (due to under-staffing)
  • Poorly trained staff lacking knowledge of the product
  • Products that don’t work as they’re intended
  • Bad follow-up service after the sale – or none at all

Some of these customer service problems could be eliminated by using new or different technology (such as phone systems). Still other service issues could be reduced or eliminated with the proper employee training. Drop us a note if you’d like to learn how Orgwide can help you update your employee training.

Results of Poor Customer Service

As you can see, poor customer service can take shape in multiple forms. Whatever form poor customer service takes in your organization, the results can be devastating:

  • Low Sales and Decreased Profits – Customers are less likely to give you their business and hard-earned money if they don’t feel they are treated well. As a result, your sales and profits decrease.
  • Loss of Market Share and Customers – Research indicates that 8 out of 10 customers have stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service. Lost customers are not easily replaced.
  • Increased Expenses – It is costly to replace customers. It costs 6 or 7 times more money to find and get new customers than it costs to simply keep existing customers. Poor customer service is estimated to cost $334.5 billion a year globally and $84 billion a year in the U.S. alone.
  • Decreased Customer Loyalty – Poor customer service can also have a ripple effect. Customer loyalty decreases by 25% after a poor customer service experience.
  • Bad Reputation (Word of Mouth) – Research shows that as many as 50% of customers may be experiencing a problems with your organization, but only 5% of them will voice a complaint. Let that sink in: 95% of customers who are experiencing problems might never tell you about it! We call those “walkers not talkers.” But here’s the rub, they will tell their friends about it and they’ll complain about it online! Websites and social media make it easy for negative word-of-mouth to spread quickly after a bad customer service experience.
  • Low morale – If you are losing customers and receiving a negative reputation with your customers, your employees won’t be enthusiastic about their job or product either.
  • Increased employee and management turnover – One potential result from low morale and dissatisfaction with the job is a loss of your employees and management team. Your team will go elsewhere to find satisfaction in a career.

Turning around a Bad Customer Service Experience

Fortunately, a bad customer service experience can be turned into a good customer service experience – if it’s addressed quickly and resolved effectively. This can be done through good employee training. Customers should feel like they’ve been heard, hear a sincere apology, and know what is being done to correct the problem or resolve the issue. In fact, when addressed effectively, a customer experiencing a problem may be even more loyal afterwards than they were before the problem occurred!

Good customer service can really pay off! Out of every 10 consumers:

  • 8 say they would pay more to ensure a good customer experience
  • 7 say they will continue doing business with a company if a complaint is resolved
  • 8 will recommend a brand to their friends after a good customer service experience

Making a Habit of Good Customer Service

Good customer service is more likely to happen when we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes. It typically involves personalization, responsiveness, competency, and convenience. In other words:

  • Make it easy for customers to do business with you and they will have one less reason to check out your competition.
  • Make it easy for customers to share their experience – and if it wasn’t what they expected, they should receive a sincere apology and your best efforts to make it right.
  • Make your customers feel important and appreciated (which is more likely to happen when your employees feel appreciated by the way!).

It can be difficult to measure the overall cost of poor customer service. But even though it might not be easy to quantify the direct impact of customer service on our bottom line, it’s easy to recognize its value. Customer service is essential for the survival of any business. We can’t stay in business without customers and we need to provide good service in order to keep our customers. Good customer service increases customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and profitability. 

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