Consumers are Willing to Spend More on Excellent Customer Service, But are Businesses?

Consumers are Willing to Spend More on Excellent Customer Service, But are Businesses? image customerserviceinvestmentcustomerserviceinvestmentAccording to the 2012 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, two thirds of surveyed consumers are willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service, and three out of four consumers surveyed confirm they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences (think Zappos, Amazon.com).

So if customers are willing to spend more for excellent customer service, shouldn’t businesses and organizations be willing to invest more to achieve it? The answers in a recent survey by Aberdeen may or may not surprise you.

At Aberdeen’s 2012 Chief Service Officer Summit, 85% of attending business leaders stated that their organization was placing an increased importance on customer service in 2013, and in Aberdeen’s Trends in Customer Service: Multi-Channel Edition report, 56% of respondents said their goal for customer service in 2013 was to increase satisfaction.

But were those same businesses surveyed by Aberdeen willing to invest to get it? Here’s the breakdown:

  • Only 8% indicated that they would be investing in improving customer satisfaction regardless of the cost.
  • 38% were looking to increase customer satisfaction with a limited investment.
  • 36% wanted to increase customer satisfaction with no increase in costs.
  • And 16% want to reduce or slash costs by either keeping customer satisfaction the same or foregoing their focus on customer satisfaction.

Now is it possible to improve customer service and satisfaction and still cut costs at the same time? It is, for example through the introduction of a self-service knowledgebase, which allows a large number of customers to find information and answers on their own so that customer service representatives can focus on the service experience of those who need more personalized care. Yet even this will most likely require an initial investment in the right customer service software and training.

But with a report by Forrester estimating that the revenue impact from a 10-percentage-point improvement in a larger service company’s performance (as measured by Forrester’s Customer Experience Index score) could exceed $1 billion, new channels such as social media and mobile evolving rapidly, and customer service receiving more attention than ever before as a key differentiator, do the numbers above on investment intent surprise you? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

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