According to the 2014 customer satisfaction report from Zendesk, the United States is currently in 15th place when it comes to customer service. The U.S. score of 82 percent is 10 full points behind top-ranked New Zealand's 92. Although the United States has risen two ranks since the 2013 report, its performance is dismal considering the marketing budgets and the access to top talent that many large U.S. corporations enjoy.
Technological advances of the 21st century have raised consumer expectations, and U.S. companies are scrambling to keep up. Keeping customer satisfaction high requires increased speed, improved accuracy and more flexibility in responding to consumer needs when compared to the past. In addition, modern consumers are willing to pay more for the best customer service. Competition for customers is fierce, and companies need to take a close look at their customer service departments to attract and retain consumers.
Companies in countries at the top of the Zendesk report such as Canada, Norway and Australia work with customer service trends to provide fast, accurate and flexible responses to customer needs. Brazilian companies have climbed to ninth place on the list by a creating strong social media presence that supports friendly customer interactions and quick responsiveness to customer complaints. This is a key to customer satisfaction, with 70 percent of customers choosing to stay with companies that respond favorably to customer complaints.
Customer relationship management is another contemporary force shaping customer service trends. CRM systems use software to combine customer input and sales information to create programs that boost customer satisfaction. Technology analyzes the data to predict future interactions and recommend systems that increase customer loyalty. With a 2 percent increase in customer retention correlating to a 10 percent decrease in company costs, many U.S. companies are looking at CRM as a way to quickly improve customer satisfaction and increase the bottom line.
Bad customer service hurts more than just the company that fails to deliver; every time a consumer has a negative experience, he is less likely to make future purchases in general. In this way, a trend toward poor customer service hurts the entire economy. Industries with particularly poor customer service track records such as software, financial services and business support need to look for ways to improve that will boost their business and keep the U.S. economy growing.
The Customer Experience Impact Report found that only 1 percent of consumers feel that businesses consistently meet their expectations. With 86 percent stating that they are willing to pay more for better service, American corporations are the ones losing out when customer satisfaction falls. Keep your company's standards high to compete in the global market and improve the local economy. Better customer service equals higher sales, lowered costs and more enjoyable interactions for everyone.
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