Bad Customer Service Will Dent the Bottom Line

“If as a company, your customer service is not becoming to your company, your customers will be going to your competition.” – Bob Teague

We have discussed several times about the importance and value customers now place on service. In fact, customer service has overtaken quality products and competitive pricing as the most preferred aspect of their relationship with a company. Top quality service for customers is now the unique and key differentiator for any company and they want a company to make them feel important and provide preferential treatment. Good customer service would keep them going back to the company. Bad customer service will dent the bottom line by keeping customers and their business away. Many companies unknowingly sabotage their relationship with customers since they do not have a culture of focusing on their needs and feelings. A centralized and proactive strategy to promote good customer service is an essential for any company’s success.

Bad customer service damages a company in several ways – starting with an irreparably damaged reputation. The loss of reputation is extremely hard to retrieve, especially with most poor experiences posted online, where a very large audience can view them. These poor reviews not only affect the psyche of other existing customers, they also block the entry of prospective ones. Most people read online company reviews before they decide to buy from or do business with a company. The worst effect of bad customer service would be the closure of a business – which is a lot more than a dent in the bottom line.

The top reason now, for customers leaving a company is bad customer service – at least 53% customers would leave a company because they received poor treatment and made to feel unimportant and another 42% would exit because the service representatives were rude and slovenly. These figures are the result of research and studies conducted across various customer groups. In addition, the results show that at least 60% customers have a much higher expectation from customer service now, than they did maybe even a year back. These facts just mean that bad customer service could be a company’s undoing, with no hope of retrieval. The strange part is the gap that exists between what customers expect and believe to be the state of the service offered by a company versus what the company thinks it delivers. While companies might believe that they are able to provide good service at least 60-70 percentage of the time, only 8% customers believe that to be true. This gap is perhaps the reason why companies fail to recognize bad customer service on their part.

While we know, there would always be some customers, who would be dissatisfied, given the fact that customer service is subjective to many factors pertinent to a customer. However, despite the element of subjectivity, the fact is that customers expect and demand, more than ever, to be treated with respect and given the importance they deserve. Bad customer service can never be kept under wraps – customers will post negative comments on the most visible and widely read online platforms and take away their business for good, putting a big dent in the company’s bottom line. There are several examples of businesses that have shut down because of bad customer service.

A company could have the best products / services in terms of performance but if they do not serve a need and suit the requirements of customers, the offerings would be of little value. One of the aspects of bad customer service is failure to listen and understand customers. Why would people want to associate with a company that would not understand the basics of business – the most fundamental aspect being, listening to customers, and giving them what they want? This aspect of bad customer service leads to highly irate customers who would take their business elsewhere and speak poorly of the company, which in turn dents the bottom line and the reputation of the company – often irreparably.

Simply by putting a customer service team and processes in place would not suffice. A company must ensure that the service provided is top class and inefficiencies are dealt with immediately. Inefficient and slovenly service representatives can prove to be more damaging to a company than any other aspect – treating customers without respect, not heeding requests, leaving issues unresolved, and arguing with them, are the ‘finest’ examples of bad customer service and are the fastest routes to putting your company out of business for good. Agreed, that customers are a lot more demanding now, but it is the onus of companies to employ the best strategies, technology, and employees to ensure that customers receive efficient service leaving them with pleasant experiences. With so many techniques, tools, and channels at their disposal, companies do not have any excuse to ‘dish out’ bad customer service under any circumstance.

Bad customer service would negatively affect the bottom line of any business, irrespective of its success and number of years in the market. Any company needs repeat business, positive feedback, and to grow its existing customer base – bad customer service puts a spoke in all these endeavours. Bad customer service would make even the most loyal customers turn away. Irate customers rarely leave quietly now – social media and posting comments on other online channels has made it extremely easy and quick to spread news about a company and its products. Negative comments would be read by many, which means that even some prospective customers could decide against doing business with the company based on what the existing customers write.

Bad customer service is akin to a ‘triple whammy’ for any company. Existing customers leave, taking their current and future business with them, prospective customers shy away from associating with the company, and the poor reputation of the company ensures that the best talent in the market choose other companies to work with. All these factors together would seriously dent the company’s bottom line and in most cases, a company would need to shut down.

Bad customer service simply leaves customers fuming and disillusioned because all the promises the company may have made at the start of the relationship, would be unfulfilled. The feeling of being cheated and treated badly can pique even the mildest and calmest of customers, leading them to move away from the company. Just as great recommendations propel a business forward and gain new customers, poor and negative comments would put a stop to not just the existing business but also to any prospective one too. As customers become more dissatisfied with the service of the company, even if they do not leave, would apply the brakes on the amount of business they give to the company. In addition, they would begin sourcing other companies to do business with and stop providing referrals for the company. Even if they do not post comments via social media, they would still not be averse to letting their friends, family, and associates know of the bad customer service they received. Bad news travels fast but it could still be a while before the company becomes aware of the negativity, and by then it is probably too late to revive the reputation or make things better with customers.

With so much at stake with bad customer service, it is shocking that companies would not be more careful and proactive with their service policies and make extra effort to ensure that each customer receives the best. Have you evaluated the service your company provides – it could be worse than you think.

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