Customer Loyalty, Effort and Social Service

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If you plan on taking on a CSR career, and especially if you are doing so in the capacity as a member of management, it is so important to understand some of the best ways to focus on improving the customer experience. One of the main points of focus should be to look at the CSR team structure and culture. All CSR professionals need to grasp what it takes to improve the whole customer experience, and looking at the statistics involving these issues is a great place to begin.

In a recent article by Adam Toporek at Customers That Stick, he discusses the statistics that directly relate to the customer experience, and from that, we can glean what is needed in most any business in order to improve the experience.

When it comes to customer loyalty, 82% of consumers polled in the United States said they stopped doing business with a company due to a poor customer experience. Of course, the types of things that make an experience poor will vary from person to person, and can involve anything from an overly extended wait time for service, faulty products, unreasonable return/replacement policies, poor service, or even cost. This leads to lost customers, and that leads to acquiring new customers some how.

This is an oldie but goody that most everyone knows by now, that it can be ten times more expensive to win a customer than to retain one, and the cost of bringing a new customer to same level of profitability as the lost one can be up to sixteen times more. The amount of money spent by companies to get more people in the door is much more costly than it is to properly serve and keep the ones already there. Therefore, since gaining customer loyalty is cheaper and more profitable, it should be the main goal of the CSR team.

Simply Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95% is what older studies reveal. So while gaining new customers is great and desirable, keeping existing ones ends up being more profitable in the long run. Not only do they make return purchases, but they spread the good word, which is free advertising for the company and can result in the desired new customers. However, on the opposite side, if they are dissatisfied, they spread bad publicity, costing the company more in sales – also free advertising, though not the desired type.

When it comes to customer effort – being that amount of labor the customer must perform in order to do business with you – obviously the more labor for them, the less satisfied they will be. The Corporate Executive Board researchers studied 97,000 customers with recent service interactions with various companies, and found that 56% of customers report having to re-explain their issue during the course of a service interaction, while 59% of customers say they were transferred during a service interaction, and 62% of customers report more than one contact to resolve their issue. One of the goals of every company and even the CSR team, is to make the customer experience as easy and smooth as possible, and should not burden the customer with tasks or unnecessary hoops to jump through.

And of course, social media is the ever growing trend for support and service. Customers who engage with companies over social media are more loyal and they spend up to 40% more with those companies than other customers. They have taken the time to track the company down online, maybe even installing a special app. That means the customer is already invested into the company somewhat, and one step closer to brand loyalty. So, how they are handled here will have a large impact on their future loyalty. Toporek states:

I’ve been outspoken that not every company needs to invest in social media for customer service; however, if your company’s customers are on social, you need a plan to manage your social channels so that you can respond promptly, engage in positive interactions with customers, and build relationships online that will carry over into your physical location.

So be sure you have a good team ready for social media, but not at the expense of still maintaining regular avenues of support, like phone support. Because if they are not getting adequate social media support, research shows that 40% of customers called a company’s toll-free number after being unsatisfied with the social media avenue. Companies may complain that they do not have resources for a social media service center, but if they honestly crunch the numbers between time and cost of other support options, they should find it easy to reconcile the idea of investing in social media.


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