You’ve probably heard it more times than you can count by now: Customer service is a crucial differentiator for businesses. Simply hearing that message repeated frequently may make you a little numb to it and take away some of its power—but don’t let that happen; the message is of such significance that you should keep it uppermost in your thoughts. As an executive, what matters most to you when planning strategies, however, is empirical data, because the more information you have at your disposal, the more likely you are to make a sound business decision.
In that spirit, we’ve compiled a “lucky seven” pack of statistics that clearly illustrate just how critical the customer experience is in today’s marketplace, and how important improving customer service in your organization will be moving forward:
- Some 68 percent of businesses planned to increase customer service spending in 2014—Call Center IQ, 2014 Call Center Executive Priorities Report
- By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator—Walker, Customers 2020: The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience
- At least 62 percent of companies view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator—Deloitte, 2013 Global Contact Center Survey
- A full 88 percent of consumers speak with live representatives on the phone at least some of the time—NICE Systems, Global Customer Experience Survey
- In 2013, 51 percent of U.S. consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service experiences, up 5 percent from the previous year—Accenture, 2013 Global Consumers Pulse Survey
- As much as 63 percent of 1,620 consumers tested under laboratory conditions said they felt their heart rate increase when they thought about receiving great customer service—American Express Service Study
- About 84 percent of survey respondents said their company’s executives are fully committed to their company’s customer experience goals—Temkin Group, Data Snapshot: CX Expectations and Plans for 2014
In addition to making clear the value customers place on service, the above statistics also show that many businesses are starting to invest more in improving their customer experiences. Consequently, those companies that neglect this area will struggle to keep pace with competitors in their industry.
If you weren’t satisfied with your company’s customer service in 2014, investing in contact center software is probably a good place to start for 2015. Your contact center agents are typically the first link a consumer has with your company, and that first interaction can shape the entire relationship. Best-in-class contact center software gives your supervisors new tools to improve agent training, and captures critical data from customer interactions that helps you make intelligent short- and long-term decisions. Leveraging such functionality, it won’t be long before your company transforms from a customer service laggard to a customer experience leader.