The Customer Experience Impact 2010 report just came out and the numbers are frightening for brands with mediocre or bad customer service:

  • 82% of consumers in the U.S. said they’ve stopped doing business with a company due to a poor customer service experience
  • 95% said they would “take action” after a bad customer experience
  • 79% of U.S. consumers shared their negative customer experience in public and amongst friends
  • 58% of consumers who took their complaints to Facebook/Twitter expected a response from the company, 42% within a day
  • 55% became a customer of a company because of their reputation for good customer service
  • 55% would pay 10% more for a good customer experience

The “I’m mad as hell, and I won’t take it anymore” attitude of people has transformed into “I’m mad as hell, and I will take my business somewhere else”. These are staggering numbers. It’s budgeting season for many companies right now and this report should encourage brands to have another hard look at their budgets: Until your customer service system is close to perfect, does it really make sense to invest that much into marketing/advertising? Aren’t you patching holes while new holes are popping up each and every day, one disgruntled customer at a time?

And, brands should not regard social platforms as the secret bullet. As Techcrunch reports, the demand for human interaction has actually increased:

“In 2007, 60% of consumers said when they had a negative customer experience, they wanted to speak to a live agent about it. At that time, 26% preferred email, 5% chat, but Facebook and Twitter weren’t used by corporations to handle complaints and resolve problems. This year, 83% of U.S. consumers said they wanted to speak to a live agent, 66% preferred email, 12% chat, and 7% choose social networking sites when trying to resolve a problem.”

A mindset change is needed: Regard Customer Service as an investment, not a cost. In the end, customer service is sales.

You can download the full report here.