As any small business owner knows, the customer is a top priority. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to please a tricky customer – whether it’s a result of poor communication or bad service, companies lose business to competitors. Small business customer service retains customers and stabilizes revenue.
In tough economic times, it’s important to retain as many customers as possible, which a new study confirmed. A study conducted by Shankman Honig found 20 percent of regular customers left a provider after having a negative customer service experience in 2012, which can add up to massive losses for a company. Further, 55 percent of respondents said they left a service before a transaction could be completed due to poor service.
Disparity in responses
One of the most startling findings of the report was the disparity in responses between businesses and consumers. Eighty percent of companies said they believed they deliver “superior” customer service, but only 8 percent of customers reported they received superior service from those same companies.
It’s sometimes understandable why small businesses find themselves hard pressed to deliver stellar customer service, as 35 percent of respondents admitted to losing their temper with staff members or customer service representatives. This can wear down even the most polite small business owner, but if a company wants to expand its business, it’s essential to focus on delivering quality customer service, as the damage doesn’t end with one customer lost.
Of those individuals who said they had lost their temper with a business, 24 percent said they later used social media outlets to talk about their negative experiences, leading to future losses for a business. What’s worse, customers are far more likely to share their negative opinions about a company than they are positive ones, as the study found consumers on average told 24 people about bad experiences with a company. People who had positive experiences, on the other hand, were likely to tell just 15 people.
In total the losses accrued by poor customer service added up to $83 billion per year, leaving no industry exempt. The study broke down the losses even more, finding a customer would have spent an average of $289 annually with a business had they received better service from employees.
Customer service, at a price
Troubling many small business owners who might be delivering subpar customer experiences is the fact that high-quality customer service can be expensive. As businesses expand and more customers patron a service, it becomes easier for errors to be made – sometimes shipments are late, products are faulty and need to be returned or clients feel they have a hard time getting in contact with company officials. Quickly delivering products or fixing the occasional error in a product doesn’t come cheap, as improving these services often requires equipment upgrades or expensive new hires.
If a small business owner is having trouble balancing expansion with customer service, they can come to National Funding for assistance. National Funding can help an entrepreneur shore up technology assets and infrastructure with equipment financing, or can provide a small business owner with a merchant cash advance for business to help the business direct more resources to improving the quality of customer service.