Good customer service is powerful for any company. Through word of mouth, positive experiences resonate through people’s networks. You can attract new customers while also retaining your current ones, making them more loyal.
As Jeff Bezos put it: “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job everyday to make every important aspect of customer experience a little bit better.”
Word of mouth marketing is one of the most valuable forms of marketing with 92% of consumers believing recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.
We wanted to find the link between word of mouth marketing and customer service.
Just how powerful is word of mouth marketing? Could a trusted friend’s recommendation be enough to convince a customer to return to a company they previously received bad customer service from?
So we asked 1000 consumers the following question:
You’ve received bad customer service from a company in the past. How likely would you be to try them again if a trusted friend recommended them based on incredible service?
What we thought would happen
We all know that if customer service is good, customers are more likely to come back.
But what if the service is bad?
We assumed customers would be more likely to return when influenced by a trusted friend. This assumption is based on the plethora of statistics supporting the idea that word of mouth marketing is a powerful asset and almost guaranteed to work, for example:
- People are (77%) more likely to purchase a product when they learn about it from friends and family
- 81% of consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts
With stats like those, we thought we would be proving our hypothesis. But the results told a very different story.
We were shocked to discover that almost 60% of consumers said they were unlikely or very unlikely to return to a business they had experienced poor customer service from, even if a trusted friend said the service had improved.
Only 12.5% of consumers said they would be likely or very likely to try a company again.
It seems customers don’t let their friends’ opinions affect their choices to buy.
What this means for your business
Customers are staying loyal to their disloyalty; there is little to no room for error. Businesses need to get customer support right the first time as there are often no second chances.
We looked deeper into the reasons why this could be the case, spoke to businesses who have experienced losing customers, and uncovered the best methods for retaining customers after bad customer service experiences. Read the full report here.