Your customers have an abundance of choices, so what makes them choose you? You may jump to say, “our product is the best” or “our pricing can’t be beaten.” But, in today’s customer-driven marketplaces, it’s not just product and price that companies are competing on.
Today’s customers care about the way they are treated. They won’t settle for less than they believe that they deserve. Are you meeting their expectations? If not, do you know how that’s impacting your brand today?
We’re willing to bet the implications of customer service are more far-reaching than you realize. In the last year alone, customer attitudes and expectations have shifted significantly. Now, your customer service department must adjust to match the changing landscape. And they need to adjust fast.
A well-informed, well-prepared customer service team can make a huge, lasting difference in your organization. On the other hand, poor customer service can have devastating effects. We’ve collected top customer service stats to help you understand exactly what your team is up against so that you can grow and adapt alongside your customers.
In other words, we did extensive, time-consuming research so that you don’t have to. (You’re welcome.) We’ve also compiled the need-to-know customer service statistics right here for you to peruse at your leisure.
A closer look at the state of the customer service industry
Let’s start at the top. What does the customer service industry look like today? How are customer expectations evolving over time?
Not only is the customer service industry bigger than ever, but it’s also going to continue growing. Here are a few customer service statistics that shine a light on the customer service industry—both as it stands now and where it’s headed.
- In 2020, 58% of customers in the United States stated that they contacted customer service in the past month. (Statista)
- 54% of global customers say they have higher expectations for customer service today than they had one year ago—with 57% of US customers and 48% of United Kingdom customers stating their expectations have grown. (Microsoft)
- This growth in the customer experience management market is expected to continue at a compound annual growth rate of 17.5% from 2021 to 2028. (Grand View Research)
- In 2021, the customer experience management market is valued at $8.79 billion, which is up from $7.6 billion in 2020. (Grand View Research)
- Worldwide, 67% of people believe that customer service as a whole is improving—with 62% of US customers and 61% of United Kingdom customers stating customer service is getting better. (Microsoft)
As you can see, there’s no end in sight for the customer service boom. Customers have always wanted good and reliable service. However, some experts suggest that technology is making those expectations even higher and that the pandemic has had a lasting impact on customers as well.
The demand for many goods and services is greater than ever, which means more customer service requests. At the same time, customers expect interactions that feel more human, and more connected. This can put customer service professionals in a tough spot, but as we’ll cover, working to understand your customers and choosing the right channels can go a long way.
Importance (and impact) of customer service
When done well, customer service has as much of an impact on revenue as a strong sales funnel or a creative marketing campaign. Sometimes excellent customer service can even be a standalone selling point or the focus of a creative marketing campaign.
It’s truly a key differentiator. And it really affects your bottom line. Not convinced? You don’t have to take our word for it. Here are some more customer service statistics to help drive the point home.
- According to a survey conducted in 2020, 60% of customers in the United States do more business with companies due to good customer service. (Statista)
- 80% of customers place the same emphasis on customer service as they do on product quality. (Salesforce)
- Globally, 90% of consumers believe customer service is somewhat important to very important in the choice of a brand—with 94% of US customers and 92% of UK customers stating customer service affects their brand choices. (Microsoft)
- 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience. (Kolsky)
- Businesses can grow revenues between 4% and 8% above their market when prioritizing better customer service experiences. (Bain & Company)
It’s clear that improving customer service has a direct impact on revenue. Customer service experiences have a huge impact on repeat customers, customer referrals and recommendations, and overall customer loyalty. As you scan these next customer service statistics, keep in mind that acquiring a new customer is more expensive than retaining austomer.
- In fact, acquiring a new customer is six to seven times as expensive as retaining an existing customer. (Kolsky)
Now that you know that intimidating statistic, let’s look at how customer service affects repeat customers and loyalty.
- 91% of customers state that a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to make another purchase. (Salesforce)
- Globally, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand—with 69% of US customers and 57% of UK customers saying it’s very important. (Microsoft)
- Nearly 80% of consumers will forgive a bad experience if they rate the service team as “very good.” (Qualtrics XM Institute)
Speaking of forgiving bad experiences, here’s an email template that’s been proven to work to salvage even the most crushing mistakes.
Okay, diving back in—let’s explore how customer service experiences impact customer referrals and recommendations.
- Consumers who rate a company’s service as “good” are 38% more likely to recommend that company. (Qualtrics XM Institute)
- And a whopping 94% of American customers will recommend a company whose service they rate as “very good.” (Qualtrics XM Institute)
- In comparison, only 13% of consumers will recommend a company whose customer service they’ve rated as “very poor.” (Qualtrics XM Institute)
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. So, while good customer service can boost your revenue, bad customer service can cost you big.
Cost of poor customer service
Poor customer service does more damage to companies than most people realize. It can be difficult for individual companies to calculate just how far the effects of one bad customer experience will ripple through their customer base. But, the truth is, each poor customer service experience has the potential to ripple pretty far.
Here are a few customer service stats that illustrate the wide-reaching effects of poor customer service.
- Globally, 56% of customers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience—with 59% of US customers and 61% of UK customers confirming they’ve dropped a brand for this reason. (Microsoft)
- Only one in five consumers will forgive a bad experience at a company whose customer service they rate as “very poor.” (Qualtrics XM Institute)
- 13% of customers tell 15 or more people if they’re unhappy with a brand due to a poor customer service experience. (Kolsky)
- 76% of customers admit to sharing their disappointment about a company’s level of service with others. (TechSee)
Now that you understand what’s on the line, let’s dig into what qualifies as “excellent” customer service. You can’t provide an excellent customer experience if you don’t know what that is.
Making sense of customer expectations and priorities
Do you know what your customers really care about? As we mentioned at the start of this blog, customer expectations are constantly shifting. This makes it hard to keep up and even harder to ensure your service offerings and priorities match your customers’ expectations.
Here are some customer service statistics that will help you understand customer expectations so you’ll know which areas of customer service you should focus on.
- Globally, 90% of consumers consider issue resolution as their most crucial customer service concern. (KMPG)
- 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response to a customer service inquiry as “important” or “very important.” 60% of customers define “immediate” as 10 minutes or less. (HubSpot)
Customers also increasingly expect a level of proactive customer service from the brands they interact with, but only 13% of customers say they actually receive this kind of service. (Gartner)
- 63% of consumers expect businesses to know their unique needs and expectations.. (Salesforce)
- 68% of customers expect brands to demonstrate empathy. (Salesforce)
- 53% of consumers expect connected customer service experiences. (Salesforce)
- Globally, 72% of consumers expect agents to already know who they are, what they’ve purchased, and have insight into their previous engagements—with 66% of US customers and 68% of UK customers stating they expect the representative to know this information. (Microsoft)
- Globally, 68% of consumers have a more favorable view of brands that contact them with proactive customer service notifications—with 67% of US customers and 58% of UK customers saying they value this proactive outreach. (Microsoft)
- 30% of consumers say the most important aspect of customer service is speaking with a knowledgeable and friendly agent. (Microsoft)
When these expectations are not met, customers understandably get frustrated (and sometimes even angry). Next, let’s look at some customer service stats surrounding such frustrations.
Understanding common frustrations customers face
We’ve all seen angry customers. Maybe one was in line ahead of you at the store. Or maybe you witnessed one in action through a viral Facebook video that popped up on your feed. (We’re looking at you, Karen.)
Unfortunately, angry customers are everywhere. But what makes them so angry? And how can you prevent angry customers from doing damage to your company? Well, you need to understand why they’re angry in the first place.
So, to paint the picture of a poor customer service experience more clearly, let’s go through some customer service stats surrounding customer pains.
- 33% of customers are most frustrated by having to wait on hold. 33% are most frustrated by having to repeat themselves to multiple support reps. (HubSpot)
- And 65% of customers say they do often have to repeat or re-explain information to different representatives. (Salesforce)
- 84% of consumers are frustrated when the agent does not have information. (Kolsky)
- 63% of customers say brands don’t generally demonstrate empathy. (Salesforce)
- 52% of customers describe most service interactions as fragmented. (Salesforce)
- 53% of consumers believe brands don’t take action on the feedback they provide. (Microsoft)
As someone who has undoubtedly been a customer of many different companies, you probably found yourself nodding along with each statistic. Maybe one or two even brought up a bitter memory of a terrible customer service experience you had. At the end of the day, customers just want to be treated well. So, why do so many companies struggle with customer service?
A huge reason companies struggle is the large number of customer service channels that are available today. Let’s dive in…
Choosing the best channels for customer service
Call, chat, Facebook message, text, web form, email, tweet—how do you prefer to contact customer service agents? Many organizations struggle with customer service because they are trying to be everywhere at once.
Customer service departments overextend themselves, which leads to disappointing customer service experiences across all channels. Unless you have unlimited resources (including unlimited talent), you’ll have to narrow down the outreach channels you offer. So what customer service channels should you focus on? Let’s see what the numbers have to say.
Top 10 preferred channels (Salesforce)
- Online chat
- Mobile apps
- Messenger apps
- Online portals
- Video chat
- Social media
This also brings up another question: Are you making customer support available in a way that your customers prefer to access it?
If not, you may not be able to meet their expectations and connect with them at the right time. Mobile apps sit right in the middle of this list, but this preference may be short-lived.
36. According to a recent prediction from Gartner, 80% of customer service organizations will have abandoned native mobile apps in favor of messaging for a better customer experience by 2025.
You also may be surprised to see social media as number 10. We’ll get into why that is and what that means for the future of customer service in a bit. But for now, let’s return to stats about the best customer service channels.
37. 52% of global customers typically begin their interactions online——with 49% of US customers and 60% of UK customers stating that’s where they typically first reach out. (Microsoft)
38. 33% of all customers use their mobile devices to initiate contact with customer service. (Microsoft)
39. Globally, only 5% of customer service interactions begin with a face to face meeting—with percentages in the U.S (7%) and U.K (7%) slightly higher than the global average. (Microsoft)
40. American consumers do not find bots effective, with 40% relying on other channels to reach out to service teams. (Microsoft)
41. 76% of customers prefer different channels depending on context. (Salesforce)
42. For more complicated interactions, such as payment disputes, 40% of customers prefer talking to a real person over the phone. (AE)
No matter which channels you choose to focus on, providing a cohesive, multi-channel experience is a must.
43. As we already mentioned above, 53% of consumers expect connected customer service experiences. (Salesforce)
So, not only do customers want to have multiple options when it comes to the customer service channels available to them, they also want to experience continuity between those channels.
44. 74% of customers say they’ve used multiple channels to start and complete a transaction. This is up from 71% the previous year. (Salesforce)
45. 66% of global respondents say they actively use 3 or more channels. (Microsoft)
46. 9 in 10 consumers expect a seamless experience when moving from one communication channel to another. (NICE)
47. 75% of customers desire a consistent experience, regardless of how they engage a company (through social media, in person, by phone, etc.). (Salesforce)
The best way to give your customers the seamless, consistent experience they crave is with a shared inbox that brings all customer conversations into one, well-organized place. With a shared inbox you can give your customers the options they want—email, social media, chat, phone, etc.—and you can easily keep track of every interaction.
Now, we promised we’d get into social media customer service in more detail. That’s up next!
Connecting social media and customer service
So, social media is last on Salesforce’s list of top 10 preferred customer service channels. But don’t take the login information away from your customer service reps just yet. While it’s not the most popular form of outreach, customers do still turn to social channels for assistance. And, when they do, they expect prompt replies.
48. 74% of millennials report that their perception of a brand improves when it is clear the company responds to customers’ social media inquiries. (Microsoft)
49. 48% of consumers expect a response to social media questions and complaints within 24 hours. (Statista)
Clearly, it’s still important that your customer service team monitors and maintains those social channels. Another key reason you should maintain those channels? They will be more critical to customer service soon. Yes, right social media isn’t currently the go-to channel. However, younger generations have significantly different preferences when it comes to interacting with brands.
50. 75% of people aged 55 and over do not believe social media is an effective channel for customer service but 65% of people aged 18-34 DO believe it is an effective channel. (Microsoft)
And, over time, those younger customers will become a larger and larger portion of your active customer base. Another important aspect to consider is that social media is, above all else, used to share and exchange information. And a lot of the information shared across social channels is personal to the sharer—personal accounts, anecdotes, and experiences. So, your customers may not be reaching out to your customer service team via social media, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t talking about your brand and their experiences with your customer service team.
51. 36% of consumers actively share details of their customer service experiences. And half of those who share do so on social media. (CFI Group)
52. 39% of the social media shares regarding customer service experiences are made on Facebook. (CFI Group)
53. 15% are on Instagram. (CFI Group)
54. 15% are on YouTube.(CFI Group)
55. 13% are on Twitter. (CFI Group)
56. One in two millennials has complained about a brand on social media. (Microsoft)
57. Globally, 50% of customers say they share their service experiences, good or bad, through social media. (CFI Group)
58. 33% of Americans have used social media to complain about a brand or its customer service. (Microsoft)
It’s critical that customer service reps actively monitor key social media channels and engage customer posts (even those that aren’t addressed directly to your brand) as an extension of the whole customer service journey.
Moral of the story? You can’t count social media out just yet, but you do need to focus on using it the right way, which doesn’t mean simply replying to any comment you get about your product or brand. If you aren’t sure what great customer service looks like on social media, check out these examples.
The role of self-service and knowledge bases
When a customer has a question or encounters a problem with your product or service, they don’t automatically reach for the phone to call your help center or start composing an email to your reps. Instead, with increasing frequency, customers are looking to solve their own problems. Studies show that before reaching out to customer service most customers have tried to find a solution on their own.
59. 90% of consumers expect an online portal for customer service. (Microsoft)
60. 32% of customers “always” try to resolve their issue before reaching out to customer service. (CFI Group)
61. 34% of customers say that “most of the time” they try to resolve their issue before reaching out to customer service. (CFI Group)
62. Over 60% of US consumers prefer an automated self-service, such as a website or mobile app, for simple customer service tasks. (AE)
63. 77% of consumers report having used a self-service support portal. (Microsoft)
These customer service stats illustrate just how critical it is that companies across the globe offer some form of self-service support. Self-service support offerings could include FAQ articles, how-to-videos, community answers, webinars, user guides, etc. If you’re not sure where to start, consider building a knowledge base.
64. Customers prefer knowledge bases over all other self-service channels. (Forrester)
Creating a knowledge base may seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of knowledge base templates to help you get started. Taking the time to create these resources now will pay off in the long run.
After all, the easiest way for you to help your customers is to help them help themselves. It cuts down on the work that your support agents need to do, and for common questions or problems, it empowers customers to find a resolution faster.
The bottom line: Using what we know about customer service
We hope you now have a much better understanding of customer service today—from the importance of customer service to your customers’ expectations, frustrations, and ever-changing preferences.
The good news for customer service specialists is that this work is incredibly vital to your company. It will only get more and more important with time, so by staying on top of industry trends, you can be confident that you’ll provide the best possible experience for customers.
Statistics don’t lie. They show the reality behind where your customers are right now, and where you could be falling short. That said, they also show you the different ways you can improve. An investment in customer service is an investment in your customers (and in your company’s bottom line). It’s worth every penny.