Even in challenging economic storms, marketing budgets often resemble enormous whales, while underfunded customer service departments are treated like crusty barnacles clinging to the corporate ship’s hull. Millions are thrown at advertising campaigns, celebrity (and influencer) endorsements, and flashy product launches, all in pursuit of attention and “engagement”. But where does customer feedback fit in all of this?
Marketing Budgets Rarely Reach the Realm of Customer Service
Every company today puts aside a massive portion of its budget for marketing. From paid advertising to sponsored web content, blogs to social media engagements, and more. But very rarely are CMOs able to demonstrate returns on this spending. In fact, 75% of CMOs face pressure to cut their Martech spend. When funneled straight to customer service, whatever little budget is left suddenly dries up.
The high (supposed) cost of helpdesk infrastructure and tools often causes customer service to take a back seat. Add to it the pressure to keep these omnichannel support platforms up to date, add new features regularly, etc. Reviewing and upgrading global helpdesk processes across support channels to reduce internal efforts and optimize customer experiences is another roadblock that impacts the customer service organization. So is upskilling and reskilling agents and ensuring they have all the knowledge needed to deal with evolving customer needs and requirements.
Yes, marketing is essential. Good marketing attracts, engages, and persuades audiences. It generates awareness, prompts people to buy, and reminds them to share what makes brands authentic, interesting, and relevant with others. Substantial budgets and arsenals of tools are used to broadcast these messages. But here’s the inconvenient truth: It’s like shouting into the abyss if you’re not equally committed to listening.
At the same time, many companies don’t seem to realize that trust in institutions (including businesses) is at historical lows. More and more people are increasingly relying on friends, family, and other customers – not your brand! – for advice they can trust. PwC’s 2023 trust survey painted a rather grim picture. Among respondents, 84% of business executives think that customers highly trust the company, yet only 27% of customers say the same.
Most Companies Aren’t Serious About Customer Feedback
Not having enough budgets allocated for customer service is aggravated by the very approach to customer service. Most companies don’t take customer service seriously. Here are the top indications that a company isn’t serious about customer feedback:
- They fail to respond to customers on time. In today’s highly competitive world, time is of the essence. If customers don’t get fast answers, they have no qualms about choosing a competitor. The average response time for a customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes.
- When they do, it is with lame, templated thank-you messages. Most customer emails or social media messages are crafted using boring, old-school templates. The lack of personalized messaging impacts customer loyalty and satisfaction in ways organizations cannot fathom. 60% of consumers have switched brands due to a negative contact center experience.
- Contact information is buried deep in the bowels of their website. Many organizations make it extremely difficult for customers to reach out to them. All they care about is bombarding customers with unnecessary and repetitive information – with very limited options for them to share their thoughts, opinions, and concerns.
- Positive reviews and features (and exploited) and negative ones are discarded. Reviews are extremely important for any organization. But most organizations use positive reviews to blow their own trumpet. Negative reviews are instantly deleted and the concerns highlighted by customers are rarely addressed or looked into.
- Feedback options are comically narrow and constrained. While organizations make it a point to gather feedback from customers, most feedback forms are a joke. Standard yes/no questions or those with emojis don’t really capture the true essence of the audience.
- Customer service teams constantly ghost customers. Marketing can and should never be one-sided. If organizations take the liberty to bombard customers with marketing content, they should also provide customers with a channel to share their thoughts. Yet, 62% of companies don’t respond to customer service emails.
Make Customer Experience a Priority Today
In today’s customer-centric era, 81% of customers say a positive customer service experience increases the chances of them making another purchase. Yet, 40% of organizations say the C-Suite doesn’t prioritize customer experience. Limited budgets, competing priorities, and a simple lack of customer focus can result in several far-reaching consequences. An underfunded and undervalued customer service function can take all marketing efforts down the drain.
Customer experience isn’t merely a cost center; it’s the frontline intelligence agency of your business. It’s where the unvarnished truth about your products, services, and customer experiences resides. Instead of obsessing over-reaching new customers, it is time to exploit the goldmine of insights buried within existing ones.
If you want to build customer trust and loyalty, you must:
- Focus on making extensive feedback-driven improvements and enable CX transformation.
- Build a culture of responsive customer service, answering questions and addressing concerns in the quickest time possible.
- Establish a CX center of excellence to define and drive strategic and tactical initiatives toward customer-centricity.
- Enable customer journey mapping to better understand customer needs and requirements across the purchasing lifecycle and better personalize campaigns and content.
- Adopt intelligent customer experience solutions to enable real-time customer data collection and analysis, predict their next moves, and plan the right action items.
- Design and deliver an omnichannel experience to increase operational efficiency, deliver consistent messaging, and smoothen the customer journey.
- Invest in modern contact centers to centralize customer service interactions, improve visibility and transparency, and foster positive customer experiences.
A serious and careful approach to customer service can improve satisfaction, increase the chances of repeat purchases, and put your business ahead of the competition. Drive change today!