I’m not going to lie. It’s always nice when a survey comes along that backs up what your instincts are telling you. A previous Vitrue blog covered the critical nature of carrying out customer service via social. Now, a study by American Express shines some light on consumer attitudes toward customer service in general, and how those who attempt to get service through social channels behave.
The first thing we see from the AMEX Global Customer Service Barometer is that the number of people getting customer service through social is still relatively small. 17% did it at least once in the past year. Is it because people don’t want to interact in this way? Hardly. More likely it’s because so few brands offer customer service in the social realm, or are doing such a horrid job of it that there’s no point in a customer trying it twice.
Get it right, and the rewards are great. Because while social customer service users are a relatively small group, they’re a LOUD group. If you give them an easy and successful experience, they’ll shout it from the mountaintops. The AMEX survey says they’ll share a positive experience with an average 42 people. They stand ready to be the true definition of “brand fan,” with all the loyalty and self-identification with you that brings. And here’s the $$ part. Customers who get a positive result using social for customer service are willing to pay a 21% premium to brands that can consistently deliver that.
You did get that didn’t you? Being treated well, having their issue addressed quickly and to their satisfaction is SO important to consumers, they are willing to pay extra for it. If your company or your customer service reps look at incoming contacts as annoyances instead of opportunities, you’re thinking 180-degrees backwards and sabotaging yourself. Which brings us to…
Get it wrong, and you’re road kill. Just like social customer service users will be very loud when their expectations are exceeded, they will be even louder if they get hosed. Let’s start with how people feel about customer service right now overall. The public thinks you all suck. 93% of customers say companies fail to exceed their service expectations, online or off. 55% have dumped you, walking away from something they intended to buy because they were treated so badly or ignored.
Now separate out the people who are looking for customer service satisfaction on social, and the judgment is harsher and the picture is even bleaker. Over 4 in 5 walked away from a purchase due to poor customer service. That’s literally revenue walking right out the door, simply because you went out of your way to make your own customer furious. Seriously, which business school is that taught in? That will also give you plenty of anti-advertising. Those social users will spread the word about your brand, telling an average 53 people how little they think of you.
Not only is the AMEX survey enlightening, it’s a nice reminder to get out of your own brand skin once in awhile and put yourself in the head of the customer. Empathetically feel what they’re feeling. Tap into their hopes and expectations. If you exceed those expectations, you rise head and shoulders above your competitors to “premium” status, and can see visible revenue results, just from doing what all companies should be doing anyway.