Customer Service and Why We Care

by Stephanie Miele with Cris Merz:

Over the past 19 years in the diving industry I have seen companies rise and fall. I have worked in nearly every department at International Training and being on the front lines in direct communication with our customers has always been a favorite of mine.  I love to hear their diving stories and witness their continued vigor for diving.  I feel that the only way we can grow as a company is to listen to those individuals who call, email, use chat, and message us on social media platforms.

When I first started with the company, my mentor (who happened to be one of diving’s great pioneers) wanted to have a conversation to explain what he called Business 101.  Back then I was a recent college graduate with a huge chip on my shoulder, and an ego to boot, with something to prove (not exactly sure what I had to prove, but that was the mind of a 20 year old).  In preparation for our conversation about the basics of business I had prepared spreadsheets, analyzed the competition, and surveyed my peers so that I was prepared.

Armed with all of this data, I sat down at his desk and handed it to him ready to impress.  With one fell swoop, he had picked up the report that I had so carefully crafted and threw it in the trash.  Watching the report hit the trashcan I sat there in disbelief as he then uttered one of the most important pieces of business practices which still resonates with me to this day,  “It is all about customer service; you listen to them, treat them with respect, and you will never go wrong”.  I take this advice and apply it when I am mentoring the team, brainstorming with our peers, and guiding the overall direction of the company.

Below are 15 customer service stats and tips that you as a business owner need to know.  Try applying these elements into your customer service routine and implement what may work best for you.  Then record any changes with your repeat business after 6 months and see if it is having a positive effect.

  1. 58% of Americans perform online research about the products and services that they are considering purchasing. Treat your customers as an informed consumer.  They are there to buy, not be sold.
  1. Knowing what people say about your store or company online allows you to see what you are doing right and where you need to improve.
  1. Real-time feedback that has not been watered-down from customers is a positive even when it’s negative. Treat every complaint as an opportunity to improve your service.
  1. On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
    • There is a 5-20% probability of selling to a new prospect
    • There is a 60-70% probability of selling to an existing customer

    It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.

  1. For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.
    Basically, just because one customer complained it does not mean others aren’t going through the same issue.  Take the time to address the complaint and fix it.
  1. 3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. If you are not providing your customers with a friendly experience plus offering them the ease of doing business, they will go someplace else… no matter how much you think they like you.  It’s not personal, it’s business.
  1. 80% of Americans agree that smaller companies place a greater emphasis on customer service than larger businesses.  If you are growing, that is fantastic – but don’t lose sight of your customers.  If you are steady and stable yet still the little guy compared to your larger competitors, focus on offering what they can’t, like an excellent customer experience.
  1. You may think you are offering excellent customer service…but are you? Run surveys, polls and make providing feedback ACCESSIBLE to your customers.
    • 80% of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service
    • 8% of people think these same companies deliver “superior” customer service
  1. 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again.  We say you have to earn the respect of your customer everyday… but you can lose it in a minute.
  1. Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor and they will do business with you again 70% of the time.
  1. Almost 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience.  Sure, once you have added value to the experience, it isn’t just about cost, it is about making the customer feel special.  Treating people with respect pays.
  1. Employees only ask for the customer’s name 21% of the time.  Make it personal.  Get the name of the customer and address them.  If there is something familiar to your customer – it is their name.  Use it.
  1. Top two reasons for customer loss:
    • Customers feel poorly treated
    • Failure to solve a problem in a timely manner

    People make mistakes.   However, it is how you treat that mistake and how you correct it that goes a long way to show your customer that you care and you’ll make it right.

  1. 41% of consumers expect an email response within six hours. Only 36% of retailers responded that quickly.
  1. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Engaging with your customers on social media is a great opportunity to show them you care. Follow and promote them to your own followers when you have the opportunity.  You never know what may come out of it.

Take a moment to look at your business practices and ask if you are listening to your customers as much as you should.  I feel that once you lose sight of the very thing that drives your business you start to see a downhill trend.  The best way to get back in the game is focusing on the customer.   Remember, it is not just about being polite and taking care of them on their first visit/sale. It is about providing them with a user friendly experience, good timely responses, showing them the benefit of value in their purchase, and making sure that you have left them with the impression that the only way to do their scuba diving business – be it training, equipment sales, or gear servicing – is with you, your staff, and your store.

Source: Help Scout.  Find out more tips, stats and facts here:

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