Definitive Proof that Great Customer Service Pays Off

greatcustomerserviceworthitListen up, companies. It pays to invest in great customer service. How do we know? Using SurveyMonkey Audience, we asked more than 400 Americans if a company’s reputation for excellent customer service affects whether or not they’ll buy from them.

And it turns out a whopping 72% of customers say they’re “very” or “extremely” likely to shop at a company or particular location because of their reputation for outstanding customer service.


But that’s not all we found:

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We also discovered that 97% of customers are likely to tell their friends, family, or coworkers about a “very good” or “excellent” customer service experience. Yep, that’s right. Whether it’s a quick email, a Facebook post, a call to a friend, or a good old-fashioned in-person chat, customers are ready to sing your praises when you deliver great customer service.

So what can you do to make sure your customer service is at its best? Read on to learn what customers say they value most when it comes to customer support. And find out the companies with the best customer service, according to customers.

What do customers value most?

Great customer service is more attainable than you might think. In the past 30 days, 57% of people say they’ve had a “very good” or “excellent” customer service experience. And since you know they’ll champion your brand if they have a great customer service experience, there are plenty of opportunities to benefit from word-of-mouth.

But what is great customer service? Here’s how customers ranked aspects of customer service, from most important to least:

  1. Ability of Customer Service Representative to resolve issue
  2. Timeliness of response/resolution
  3. Personality and friendliness of Customer Service Representative
  4. Quick and easy access to Customer Service
  5. Customer Service Representative communicates authentically (without “script-like” communication)
  6. Ability of Customer Service Representative to clearly understand the customer
  7. Receipt of an unexpected discount or freebie
  8. Customer Service representative provides additional information or service the customer needs but didn’t request

The ability of a Customer Service Representative to resolve a customer’s issue is #1 at 71%. But it looks like it’s time to train up your team and sharpen their customer service skills. Because timeliness (43%), access to support (35%), personality and friendliness of the Representative (43%), and authentic communication (33%) also ranked highly.

Afraid you’ll have to give away half your products or services to make customers happy? Think again. Only 13% of respondents cite receiving an unexpected discount or freebie as one of the three biggest factors in making a customer service experience great.

Customers want live support

When it comes to customer service, there’s no replacement for traditional human interaction. 75% of customers prefer phone or in-person service, with only a quarter preferring email or chat:

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Not sure if your customers would prefer to chat over the phone or over email? Send a customer satisfaction survey to see whether or not you’re meeting customer expectations when it comes to how you run your business.

Which industries are dominating the competition?

We also asked customers which industries they associate with having “very good” or “excellent” customer service, and here’s what they had to say:

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, only 9% of customers say the government is known for excellent customer service, while hospitality–an industry geared towards making people comfortable–won for outstanding customer service (49%), with food service coming in at a close second (40%).

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Companies with the best customer service: Who’s leading the pack?

Drum roll please…

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And the winner is: Amazon!

Amazon (37%) edged out Costco (32%), Trader Joe’s (32%), and Apple (26%) to claim the top spot with just over a third of respondents identifying the company as having “very good” or “excellent” customer service. Looks like Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, was right when he said, “If you build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”

Despite its recent security breach, Target is still recognized as having “very good” or “excellent” customer service by 1 out of 5 people surveyed. In addition to asking people to rate the brands above, we also captured data on brands that didn’t do so well. And here are some contenders for the worst customer service award: Only 6% rated Samsung, McDonald’s, and Safeway as having “very good” or “excellent” customer service. And Comcast didn’t fare so well either at 5%.

So does great customer service really matter?

Well, you tell us. Since 72% of Americans are very or extremely like to shop at a company or particular location because of their reputation for strong customer service, investing in excellent customer service seems to make sense. So there you have it, folks. If you give your customers an excellent customer service experience, they’re more likely to recommend your brand to others.

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