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The Cost of Poor Customer Support


poor service
Think back to the last time you were enraged by a poor customer support experience.  What’s the first thing you did?  Hit up the internet and scrawl a loathsome review on their website?  Call up a friend and vent your fury? Send angry birdies across the skies of Twitter?  Chances are you found some way to let your story be known.  That’s what people do.  We share things.  Especially our rough encounters.  And when it comes to businesses, we’re always primed to let our experiences be known.      

According to New Voice Media, approximately 93% of people take action when they’ve experience poor customer service. Over half (58%) never use that company again.  34% write internet reviews as a form of revenge, and half (49%) tell their friends and family not to use that company.  Conversely, people who have good experiences will recommend that company to friends 70% of the time.  Approximately half will continue to use that same service for future needs.

Translation:  Bad customer service could cost you your business.

Believe it or not, but it’s your customers who are often the best salesmen for your company.  They’re the ones who are writing reviews, exchanging stories, and recommending you to others.  It’s their experiences that build the reputation of your brand, so ensuring that they have good things to say is not only crucial to keeping existing customers, but also essential to gaining new ones.  And that’s not accomplished by your marketing team.  It’s achieved by the folks in your customer support.

Still not convinced?

Here’s a few facts about how customer support directly affects the success of your product.


Word of Mouth
We’ve already established that people like to talk about their experiences with companies.  Well, it turns out that they’re also twice as likely to share a negative experience than a positive one, according to the Office of Consumer Affairs.  Surveys by American Express show that, on average, a person shares a positive customer experience with 9 people, and a negative one with 16.  Every week, nearly 1 million Twitter conversations are viewed about customer support, and 80% of them are negative.  

Here’s the fun part:  Of consumers who were told a bad customer support experience, 74% were influenced by what they heard.  

So let’s go back to those sixteen people who were regaled with stories of bad support.  Of those 16 folks, 12 will not become customers.  Twelve customers lost because of one person’s bad experience.  It doesn’t take a Mathematician to understand how this escalates as more people experience poor service.    

Internet Reviews:review
So here’s an interesting fact about those abundant online reviews:  88% of people trust them. Reports indicate that 90% of people who use the internet to find products are influenced by what they read from past users of the product.  Simply put, almost all of your online business is influenced by the experiences of your past customers.  

Now, pair this with the fact that 34% of people who have a bad customer experience will write an online review of your company.  That could be a bad combination.  If support teams don’t strive to keep their communities happy, then they’re pretty much guaranteeing a loss in business.  The more angry customers you have, the more negative reviews go up online.  And that means fewer people who will even give your company a chance.    

The Bottom Line:
Customer Support plays a much more central role in a company’s success than people think.  It’s actually quite central to whether or not a company makes it big or goes in the tank.  Marketing campaigns might get a name into households or stuck in our brains, but the deciding factor is the experiences we have and how those are shared with others.  

It comes down to a choice, really. You can grow your support and boost your business, or you can be part of the 41 billion lost each year due to bad customer service.  Profit, or -41 billion?  Kind of an easy choice, isn’t it?


Also published on Medium.

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