Companies can expect more feedback on how they treat their customers through email, social media and online reviews. High opinion visibility means that customer service is more crucial than ever in maintaining success.


Consumers are more likely to share their experiences with company customer service, and have high expectations. A recent Spherion Staffing Services survey shows that 47 percent of those that interacted with customer service are likely to contact a company representative, 17 percent will use social media to talk about the experience, and 15 percent will write a review about it. In 2010, the same survey showed 40 percent will talk to the company. It is becoming more normal for customers to communicate with a company about how they are retreated, and they are reflecting this trend in varying ways.

Consumers are using public channels to critique customer service

With a negative experience, 36 percent of consumers write a complaint directly to the company, a quarter will use social media, and 19 percent will write an online review. A smaller percentage (around 10 percent) will also contact the media. Greater opinion visibility means greater impact, according to Sandy Mazur, Spherion's franchise and licensee division SVP. Nevertheless, in this economy, businesses are tempted to cut corners, and customer service performance seems to be falling - 41 percent of people had good experiences less than 60 percent of the time and 26 percent had positive experiences 80 percent or more of the time. This last statistic fell from 32 percent last year.

Experience relates directly to brand loyalty and social referrals

Another direct impact of customer service is brand loyalty. Nearly all (97 percent) of respondents who have a great experience are more likely to buy products or services again. Conversely, a bad experience can be costly - 22 percent want an apology, 10 percent want a refund, and 8 percent want deals or coupons, but 46 percent want all three to earn back their business. Additionally, 15 percent would not return to the brand regardless of these offers. Furthermore, many consumers will decide which companies to patronize based on the experience of someone they trust - 49 percent negatively and 61 percent positively. And what do customers appreciate most? Communication, courteousness and efficiency.

By Ivory King