Social media is permanently changing the customer-business relationship, giving consumers more power than ever to voice their opinions and shape a brand’s fate. However, when it comes to customer support, talking with someone on the phone is still the preferred method for customers to resolve business issues.
Last year, American Express produced the 2011 Global Customer Service Barometer. It’s no surprise to see that the majority of customers in the U.S. were most interested in resolving issues speaking on the phone with a real person.
In the study, American Express asked respondents if they were “very/somewhat interested in resolving customer service issues” using a range of methods (see graph below). 90% of U.S. respondents said “speaking with a real person on the phone.” Compare that with just 22% who showed interest in handling a support issue via a social networking site - then compare those findings with the customer service priorities across many companies today.
The study also found that 73% of U.S. and 75% of Canadian consumers would spend more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences and, across all markets, over half of consumers indicate that they are willing to spend more with companies that they believe provide excellent service.
For reasons why they would be willing to spend more with a company that provides excellent service, consumers in Canada and the U.S.(33% each) are most likely to say it is because those companies have earned their business. And in both countries, over 22% are likely to say that it is because they place a high value on excellent customer service.
As a small business (who competes with some rather big fish), Tribute made the important decision early on to differentiate with customer service. Unlike many of our larger competitors, we’ve always provided live phone support during our business hours and onsite training and implementation.
We believe that to get the greatest return on a software investment, thorough training and direct access to knowledgeable staff is the key to success. We don't expect our customers to learn our software via online tutorials or wait in a queue for an emailed request for support. Tribute is focused on customers, not shareholders.
And we’ve found that phone support doesn’t just benefit customers. Talking to customers one-on-one is the best way to truly take the pulse of your customer needs and find out just how your company is doing.
Source: 2011 Global Customer Service Market Comparison of Findings