If you’re a regular reader of this site, you already know that solid customer support is worth every penny a company spends on it. But what if your boss doesn’t believe you? I’ve worked with quite a few teams that ran into this same challenge with their company’s leadership. The executive team just didn’t place the same priority on customer support as they did on the product, marketing, etc.
Let’s arm you with some facts (awesomely provided by Help Scout) so you can show them how important providing that great support experience really is.
Bad support costs money
- 86% of customers quit using a service because of a bad customer experience with the company.
- 51% said they would try only once to contact support. After that one try, they give up on buy the product entirely.
You only get one shot with most customers. It’s kind of like first impressions. If you leave a bad first impression, customers will leave and go somewhere else.
I’ve been a customer in this situation before. My wife and I were headed to St. Lucia earlier this year. We used American Airlines, an airline we typically don’t fly since Southwest is our go-to choice. The flight to from Nashville to Miami went fine. But when we arrived at the gate for the last leg to St. Lucia, we found out that the “tickets” we were holding actually didn’t guarantee a seat on the plan. And oh by the way, the flight was oversold by a dozen or so seats.
The entire time at the gate was spent with the American team ignoring customers and repeating the same “It’s standard practice to oversell some flights. We’ll work to get you on this flight or the first one in the morning”. My wife and I were helpless to do anything the entire time. We only barely got on the flight at the expense of another couple who didn’t have valid passports.
I sent American an email detailing our experience so other customers wouldn’t go through the same thing. Their team never responded and I’ll never fly American again. That one bad customer experience cost them a customer who flies quite a few times a year.
86% of your customers will leave just like I did with American. You can’t run a business churning that many customers.
Support is marketing
When you deliver a great customer support experience, your customers will let others know about it. For a good experience, a customer tells about nine other people about it. But for a bad experience, they’ll tell almost sixteen other people! That’s double the amount of marketing but it’s the wrong kind of marketing that you want.
Let’s go back to that airline example. I absolutely love Southwest. They’re the best airline to fly here in the U.S. I tell everyone I can that they should fly Southwest. It’s free marketing for them just for being an awesome airline.
For your boss, stress that free part. They love getting good things for free.
Support is an investment
“Great support isn’t just rainbows and unicorns, it’s part of a successful business model. It moves support from a cost over to the marketing side of the balance sheet. It’s an investment, in lifetime value/loyalty and word of mouth referrals. ”
– Nick Francis, Help Scout
If a customer is loyal to you, they’ll spend up to ten times as much money with you. Since it’s about six times more expensive to find a new customer than keep a current one, it’s in your best interest to keep your customers happy for as long as possible.
Bottom line – you’ve got to be better at customer support than the other teams behind products competing against yours. You’ve got to outsupport the other guy. It’s not an option anymore.
That means you’ve got to get your company’s leadership on board with this if they aren’t already. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself left with a great product but no customers to support.
Have you already convinced your company leadership that great support is worth the cost? What finally persuaded them to see it this way?