Houston we have a Customer Service Problem

12255686_10207946820257397_1810624587_oWhy oh why are we so bad at customer service? I continue to be amazed in this ultra-competitive world of retail, how ordinary customer service is. I blogged recently about why businesses need to stand out, yet few are doing this.

Some recent research from the 2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report, found that 62% of customers have stopped doing business with a brand or organisation due to a poor customer service experience. That is a lot of customers who have decided to take their business elsewhere. I think we all know how hard it is to get new customers, yet some businesses have both the front door and back door wide open. As soon as they get a new customer they lose a regular customer out the back door, who will probably never come back.

Another piece of very interesting research (from Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to measuring Marketing Performance) they found when it comes to sales, the probability of selling to an existing happy customer is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer. Amazing, not only are we losing regular customers, we are having to fight to get new ones and they take a while before they start spending with you.

Almost the perfect storm I say. So what can you do about poor or just average customer service, here are my top 5 tips:

  • As Richard Branson says, get into the customers shoes and see it from their point of view. Use your own online process on your website and see how easy it is. Call a store, make a surprise visit, or ask your customers. Sit outside and observe what happens in your store – you may be surprised.
  • Find out from your staff what holds them back from serving customers – what are the tasks that keep them from face to face time with customers and fix these.
  • At a team meeting, spend some time brainstorming ways to delight your customers. Your staff will often have some brilliant ideas.
  • Make sure your staff are doing the basics – are they greeting customers promptly, smiling, asking questions to determine needs, spending quality time with customers, making other suggestions to assist the customer, farewelling every customer. If they can’t do these basics then you are on the back foot from the get go.
  • Constantly follow up to see if your staff are doing these basics and more and provide regular feedback to keep them on track.

It’s all too easy for staff to go through the motions with a customer and just transact – that’s not what customers want – they want an experience that says wow these guys love what they do and I’m definitely coming back for more of this.


Roger SimpsonRoger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.