Posts

7 reasons why customer service is important to your business

Why customer service is important

Every business textbook starts with the statement that customers are essential for the survival of a business.  Without customers, there are no sales and the business fails.  But there is a balance to be struck between profit and service.  Delivering a world class service is costly in terms of time and that puts pressure on the bottom line.  Provide a very low level of service and customer complaints rise as well as customers walking down the street to the competition.  Business owners therefore need to realise why customer service is important and why it should receive a higher priority in the business.

What is customer service?

Let’s start with a definition of customer service.  One of my favourite definitions is from the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.

Customer Service is how a business looks after its customers. This includes everything from the moment a customer makes contact with your business; during the provision of a service and after sales care.

Consumer Council NI

“Looking after” a customer is at the heart of this definition but also is the fact that customers have different touchpoints with a business during their customer journey.  A business interested in delivering excellent customer service will ensure that the user experience is spot on at every touchpoint – from answering a social media enquiry, serving a cup of coffee or even a follow-up email to ensure that everything was to the customer’s satisfaction.  In other words, rolling out the red carpet for every customer.

So having determined what customer service is, why is it important to a business?  Here are the top seven reasons.

#1 Excellent customer service leads to more repeat business and increased customer loyalty

Imagine it’s time for a takeaway coffee and there are two coffee shops in your area.  Both sell excellent coffee and their prices are the same.  But you have a favourite coffee shop – the one with shorter queues and friendlier staff.  A few welcoming words can make all the difference and even better, when staff get to know and use your name.  A repeat customer can spend hundreds or thousands of pounds more in your business and all for the sake of “looking after” a customer in a way that shows they really care.

So the number one reason why customer service is important to a business is because it is linked to sales.  84% of organizations working to improve customer service report an increase in sales and that’s a figure that you can’t afford to ignore.

#2 Customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition

On average, it costs approximately five times more to attract a new customer than it costs to retain an existing customer.  It therefore makes economic sense to get it right for every customer every time in terms of stock availability, price and customer service.  Keep your existing customers coming back to you and hopefully they will spend more on your products at future visits. 

You are also more likely to sell to your existing customers as they already know your business, your products and your staff.  After all, people buy from other people and if the relationship is already there, you are off to a flying start.  Research indicates that there is a much higher probability of selling to an existing customer (60-70%) than a new customer (5-20%).  Existing customers are also likely to spend more in your business as they have already had a positive experience with you in the past.

#3 Excellent customer service improves the customer’s overall user experience with an organisation

 

You may be selling an absolutely fantastic product or service but if the customer service doesn’t match the product quality, the customer is disappointed with your organisation.  The next time they wish to purchase the same product (and all other factors being equal), it is very likely that they will shop with another business.  In other words, excellent customer service is the icing on the cake for a quality product and is a major contributor to customer satisfaction. 

The converse is true too.  Should the customer service be poor, this can push many customers to look for alternative providers.  A staggering 89% of customers will begin doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.

#4 Excellent customer service can lead to a reduction in formal customer complaints

No business wants to receive complaints but whenever you are dealing with customers, it is highly likely that complaints will pop up from time to time.  Formal customer complaints can take a long time to investigate and after all “time is money”. 

With excellent customer service, customers are more likely to make more informal complaints which can be resolved more quickly.

Customer complaint

#5 Excellent customer service can improve the organisation’s reputation and strengthens your brand

By investing in high levels of customer service at every point in the customer journey, the organisation’s reputation is enhanced, and your brand is strengthened.  In other words, you become a business that people want to do business with.  This helps to attract future investors and employees as well as new customers.

#6 Staff have more job satisfaction and pride in the company

Management depend on their staff to deliver excellent service to customers.  If the staff team feel empowered to devise new ways to please customers and the business owners take on board at least some of their suggestions, staff will have more “buy in” to the company’s success. 

By valuing customers and working hard to look after them, a more customer-centred organisation is born.  Overall helpfulness increases for both the “paying” external customer but also for work colleagues ie the internal customer. 

Staff satisfaction levels should rise as should their pride in the business as well as a reduction in employee turnover.  Of course, happier staff will lead to happier customers who will keep returning to the business and spending more.  It is therefore important to continually invest in customer service training to enhance staff’s customer care skills.

#7 Excellent customer service leads to more word-of-mouth recommendations and more positive online reviews.

When you delight your customers, they become part of your marketing machine and spread the word about their customer experience.  This is the best type of advertising to do and it’s free!  Some people will recommend your business when talking to friends and family but the more digitally savvy ones will write a review on Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor or Trustpilot.  Online reviews can potentially be seen by hundreds of people so that is excellent PR for your business.

Writing an online review about customer service

Customer service cannot be ignored in any business.  It is important to consistently get service right to make sure that customers keep returning to your business, whether physically, on the phone or online.  If not, your customers will act with their feet and simply go to another business where they feel appreciated.


Did you know that Customer Sense deliver online customer service training courses? 

Carnlough volunteers become WorldHost Ambassadors

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor Lindsay Millar has congratulated Carnlough Heritage Hub volunteers for completing their WorldHost Ambassador Training. As part of the new £100, 000 Industrial Heritage Hub at Carnlough Town Hall, volunteers honed their skills in welcoming tourists and visitors to The Hub and the surrounding area by completing the […]

Lisburn Council’s Sports Services Unit Achieves Customer Service Excellence Award

Lisburn Council’s Sports Unit receive Customer Service Excellence Award Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Sports Services Unit has been recognised for its excellent standard of customer service after achieving the Cabinet Office’s prestigious, Customer Service Excellence Award.

Glenarm retains WorldHost Destination Village Status

The stunning village of Glenarm has retained its prestigious WorldHost Destination status in recognition of the area’s spectacular beauty, excellent customer service and unbeatable visitor experience.

Read more

A worldclass welcome for Hillsborough visitors

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, in conjunction with Tourism NI are running a series of WorldHost Ambassador Workshops at the start of 2018, which are open to all customer facing businesses in Hillsborough. This programme will focus on customer service addressing visitor needs, giving a warm welcome as well as indepth information on the tourist attractions in Hillsborough village and the surrounding area. Read more

Digital customer service still has room for improvement

Digital customer service still has room for improvement With global brands like Amazon driving customer expectations higher and higher every year, how do other organisations match up to their high standards on their digital channels?  According to the 2017 “State of UK Digital Customer Experience” Report conducted by digital customer experience software provider Eptica, there […]

Floating your boat

Have you ever been to a restaurant and you’ve come away saying that it was just ok?  The surroundings may be lovely and the food was good but you just didn’t feel terribly positive about the experience.  Perhaps it’s hard to put your finger on what was wrong.

Read more

By Hook or By Crook

Have you ever heard the saying “By hook or by crook”?  It actually traces back to 1170 when Henry II was searching for the Norman Lord Strongbow on County Waterford coastline.  The village of “Crook” is on the Waterford Harbour estuary and there is a headland called “Hook” at the mouth of the estuary.  Hook is the home of the Hook Lighthouse which is over 800 years old and is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world!

Read more

Good customer service, a latte and a plug

It was just a typical day for me working as a freelance marketing consultant and trainer.  I had a meeting in the morning and then had another meeting later in the day.  It was pointless in returning home in the interim so it was a good excuse to have a coffee and catch up on a few emails.

Read more

All aboard the Holiday Inn Express Antrim

The Holiday Inn Express has become the first hotel in Antrim to receive WorldHost Recognised Business Status.  WorldHost is a customer service training programme that was developed for the Northern Ireland market by sector skills council, People 1st, in partnership with Tourism NI.  The programme offers delegates a comprehensive training toolkit that can be used across a wide variety of industries.

Read more

Portfolio Items