The landscape of customer service is changing rapidly. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to understand what customers want, how customers communicate, and how you can improve their overall experience.
Accordingly, I’ve gathered 77 important customer service statistics you can use to learn more about customer service and perfect your own strategy.
First, here’s an infographic with my favorite stats from below!
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Customer Service Statistics: Positive Customer Experiences
Let’s start with some customer service statistics about the power of positive customer experiences. In other words, why is customer service so important?
1. Most Americans have at least once avoided a purchase due to a poor customer experience. According to American Express, the majority of Americans have specifically avoided making a purchase due to the poor customer experience they had. All it takes is one bad impression to compromise your chances of future sales.
2. 81 percent of Americans believe their service needs are being met or exceeded. The same study optimistically reports that most Americans, in general, believe their customer service needs are being met. Good for all you businesses out there working hard to improve your customer service!
3. 68 percent of customers believe pleasant reps were the key to a recent positive experience. This same study reveals that two-thirds of people who had a good positive experience credit a friendly, personable sales representative for being the key to that positive experience.
4. 62 percent of customers believe rep knowledge or resourcefulness were the key. Additionally, 62 percent of satisfied customers credited their rep’s knowledge and/or resourcefulness. Make sure all your reps are knowledgeable, resourceful, and friendly!
5. Happy customers share positive experiences with an average of 11 people. According to the same study, when a customer has a good experience, they share it with an average of 11 people. That’s a powerful impression you can make with a simple gesture.
6. Angry customers share negative experiences with an average of 15 people. By contrast, angry customers share negative experiences with an average of 15 people. Negativity is apparently more powerful than positivity.
7. 35 percent of customers post negative comments about companies on social media. delving further into this study, over a third of customers post negative comments about companies on social media. Even if you don’t take social media complainers seriously, this can have a negative impact on your brand reputation.
8. 53 percent of customers post positive comments about companies on social media. Interestingly, an even greater percentage of people take the time to post positive messages about companies on social media. Provide better experiences to get more social visibility.
9. 90 percent of Americans base purchasing decisions on customer service. A different American Express study found that 90 percent of Americans decide what to buy, at least partially, based on their perception of customer service. It plays a role in purchasing decisions for nearly everyone.
10. Customers are 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if a problem is service-related. This is compared to a price- or product-related problem, and is from a study by Bain and Company.
11. Businesses can grow revenue 4 to 8 percent by improving customer experience. A different report by Bain and Company found that improvements to customer service and overall customer experience can increase revenues by as much as 4 to 8 percent.
12. Nearly half of American customers have switched providers in the past year, based on bad customer experiences. According to New Voice Media, almost half of all Americans have switched to a competitor because of bad customer service from their originally chosen brand. These companies could have retained their customers if they just invested more.
13. The top cited reason for switching providers is “feeling unappreciated.” New Voice Media also found that most customers who left felt like they were unappreciated by the business they were patronizing. Sometimes, a small gesture like a “thank you” email or a discount is all it takes to get people to stick around.
14. After a bad customer experience, it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up the difference. According to Ruby Newell-Legner, negative experiences are devastating. One negative experience, even amidst several others, can eclipse positive experiences as if they never happened. It takes 12 good experiences to make up for a single bad one.
15. Roughly 70 percent of all purchasing decisions are based on how a customer feels they’re being treated. According to McKinsey and Company, more than two-thirds of purchasing decisions are attributable to a customer’s perception of how well (or poorly) they’re being treated.
16. Customer acquisition costs are 6-7 times as high as customer retention. One study from Kolsky found that customer retention is much less expensive than customer acquisition. Investing in customer service will provide you with enormous value over time.
17. 73 percent of customers will remain loyal to a company with friendly service reps. According to RightNow, and backing up some of our earlier statistics, most customers will remain loyal to a brand if they can consistently get in contact with friendly, helpful service reps.
18. 62 percent of customers will share a bad customer experience with others. According to Salesforce, most people will be willing and motivated to share a bad customer experience they had with friends, colleagues, and family members.
19. 72 percent of customers will share good customer experiences with others. The same study found an even greater percentage of customers were willing and motivated to share a good customer experience with others.
20. 67 percent of customers will pay more for a great experience. The same study found that the majority of customers were fine with paying more for a product, as long as they had great customer service.
21. 57 percent of customers have switched to a competitor after a bad experience. Again from Salesforce, more than half of people have switched to a competing brand after a single bad customer experience.
22. 77 percent of people will recommend a brand after a single good customer experience. According to Temkin Group, all it takes is one positive customer experience for someone to recommend a brand to someone else.
23. 27 percent of Americans cite bad customer service as their top frustration. According to Statista, one of the biggest complaints of American customers is “bad customer service.” It can ruin an otherwise great product or service.
24. 12 percent of Americans cite their top frustration as low speed. The same report found that slow customer service was almost as hated; people want fast responses and fast resolutions to be satisfied.
25. 78 percent of customers have, at one point, backed out of a purchase due to poor service. According to Glance, more than three-quarters of people have forgone a considered purchase after dealing with bad customer service. These lost sales could have been easily prevented.
26. 73 percent of companies with above average customer service perform better than their counterparts. According to Temkin Group, most companies with better-than-average customer service outperform their counterparts. Even if this is conceptually a no-brainer, it’s useful to put a number to it.
27. Personalized customer service can boost conversion rates by 8 percent. According to Trust Pilot, personalizing your customer service with individually tailored responses and approaches can increase your conversion rates by as much as 8 percent.
28. Millennials are willing to spend 21 percent more for a great customer experience. According to American Express, millennials are the most likely demographic to spend more for good service—and they’re willing to spend 21 percent more for it.
29. On average, U.S. customers will spend 17 percent more for a great customer experience. Overall, American customers will spend 17 percent more for a good customer experience, which is still significant.
30. In 2014, customers were willing to spend 14 percent more. Why is a statistic from 2014 relevant? Because just a few years ago, customers were only willing to spend 14 percent more, on average. In other words, good customer service is becoming more important, and customers are increasingly willing to pay more for it.
31. Companies with revenue of $1 billion or more can increase revenue by $823 million over 3 years. According to Temkin Group, a moderate improvement in customer experience is enough to boost revenue by nearly a billion dollars for high-performing companies over the course of a few years.
What Makes for Good Customer Service?
Okay, so we’ve established firmly that good customer service can have a massively positive impact on your organization. But what, exactly, is “good” customer service? These statistics will help you define it.
32. 70 percent of customers believe agent awareness of sales interactions is vital. According to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report, which we’ll reference several times in this section, most customers believe agents should be more aware of the context for their sales interactions—in other words, more invested in the conversation.
33. 80 percent of customers believe customer experience is as important or more important than its products or services. The overwhelming majority of people believe customer service either rivals or exceeds other elements of the business.
34. 59 percent of customers believe companies should be providing advanced digital experiences to keep their business. “Advanced” digital experiences would be things like AI and high-tech knowledge bases.
36. 88 percent of people are more trusting of companies that do not share their data. Similarly, customers prioritize companies that don’t share their data.
37. 92 percent of people are more trusting of companies that grant them autonomy related to their data. People love feeling like they’re in control; you can provide a better customer experience by giving your customers more control over their data.
38. 79 percent of customers will share information in exchange for valuable interactions. People are happy to provide personal information and valuable data if they get something in return.
39. 33 percent of customers cite their biggest frustration as waiting on hold. According to Hubspot research, one of the biggest concerns for customers is having to wait on hold to get a representative.
40. Another 33 percent of customers cite their biggest frustration as having to repeat themselves. The same research found another major concern is having to repeat themselves to multiple representatives, explaining the same details over and over. We’ve all felt this pain at some point.
41. 90 percent of customers want an immediate response. This research also found that responsiveness was critical for customer satisfaction; 90 percent of people want an “immediate” response from customer service.
42. 60 percent of customers define “immediate” as 10 minutes or less. Wondering what they meant by “immediate?” Most people define “immediate” as 10 minutes or less. Seems fair.
43. 72 percent of customers believe repeating explanations to multiple people is bad customer service. According to Dimensional Research, that “repeating yourself” concern is truly devastating. Most people associate it with a bad overall experience.
44. 79 percent of people who complained about poor customer service were ignored. According to Harris Interactive, most people who believed they received bad customer service felt, in some way, ignored.
45. Only 33 percent of customers recommend brands that respond quickly, but ineffectively. According to a Nielsen-McKinsey study, if a brand responds quickly, that’s good, but if that speed is combined with ineffective assistance, only a third of people will recommend the brand that provided it.
46. Only 17 percent of customers recommend brands that provide effective solutions, but are slow to respond. The same study found that even fewer people were willing to represent brands that provide effective, but slow solutions. Fast and effective is the best combo, but if you can only choose one, choose “fast.”
47. 50 percent of shoppers believe their feedback is essentially meaningless. According to Qualtrics, about half of customers believe their feedback would never reach someone capable of acting on it. That’s sad, but you can fight against this by working harder to act on customer feedback.
48. 40 percent of customers wish their concerns were addressed faster. According to American Express, 40 percent of customers want faster service. I’m surprised the percentage is that low.
49. Customer service agents ask for a customer name only 21 percent of the time. Surprisingly, according to Glance, a minority of agents ask for a customer name. This is a valuable and easy touch point to get the conversation started on the right track.
50. 87 percent of customers want a more consistent experience. According to Zendesk, customers are frustrated with inconsistent results from customer service. Strive to replicate your good experiences over and over.
51. 35 percent of customers want to stay in contact with the same agent. The same study found that most customers want their entire service experience to take place with the same person—presumably in part because they don’t want to repeat their story to new people on a frequent basis.
52. 73 percent of customers want their time to be valued. According to Forrester, the most important factor for customers feeling satisfied with their service is feeling that their time is valued. Being stuck on hold, waiting forever for a response, and getting dismissed would run counter to this need.
Mastering Customer Service Communication in Your Team
Next, we’ll take a look at some customer service statistics that can help you better understand the landscape of customer service communication—both within your team and with customers themselves. Communication is, of course, the foundation of any good customer service strategy.
Many of these statistics come from a combination of Salesforce reports.
53. 66 percent of customer service teams use knowledge bases. Knowledge bases are growing in popularity because of how effective and consistent they can make your team.
54. 82 percent of customers use knowledge bases. Customers also appreciate them.
55. 64 percent of customer service teams use customer portals. Customer portals allow a convenient platform for agent-customer interactions.
56. 84 percent of customers use customer portals. Most people use customer portals regularly.
57. 63 percent of customer service teams use SMS text messaging. SMS text messaging has pros and cons, but most customer service teams incorporate them in some way.
58. 78 percent of customers use SMS text messaging for service. Again, most customers have used this medium.
59. 52 percent of customer service teams use online chat and/or live support. As we’ll see, live support via online chat can be incredibly valuable.
60. 81 percent of customers use online chat and/or live support. Most customers have used this medium.
61. 51 percent of customer service teams use mobile apps. A smaller percentage of customer service teams rely on mobile apps for interactions.
62. 82 percent of customers use mobile apps. That said, customers still value them.
63. 20 percent of customer service teams use digital personal assistants. AI-based assistants don’t seem to be commonly in use, despite customers explicitly stating they want to see more of them.
64. 54 percent of customers use digital assistants. Only half of customers rely on AI assistants for customer service; this could be an availability issue (i.e., not enough brands are using digital assistants).
65. 95 percent of customer service teams use email. Overwhelmingly, email is the platform of choice for customer service reps. This is likely because of email’s sheer versatility and ease of use.
66. 98 percent of customers use email. Only 2 percent of customers don’t use email for customer service on a regular basis. That’s astounding, and should stop you in your tracks if you ever think about eliminating email-based customer service.
67. 88 percent of top-performing customer service teams invest in agent training. Unsurprisingly, most successful teams are well trained.
68. 57 percent of low-performing teams invest in agent training. Those training statistics aren’t as favorable for low-performing teams.
69. 83 percent of top-performing agents believe they have been adequately trained. These metrics extend to agent perspectives on their own training.
70. 52 percent of low-performing agents believe they have been adequately trained. Confidence drops in low-performing teams.
71. 69 percent of top-performing teams are incorporating AI. AI is somewhat rare, but it’s much more common in top-performing teams.
72. 39 percent of low-performing teams are incorporating AI. AI isn’t a magic cure-all, but it does seem rarer on low-performing teams.
73. 75 percent of customers believe it takes too long to get to a live agent. According to Harris Interactive and reported by HelpScout, most customers feel they aren’t getting customer service fast enough when they request it. There are several reasons for this.
74. Generally, customers prefer self-service. The majority of American customers prefer knowledge bases and other forms of self-service to live interactions. That doesn’t mean you should eliminate live interactions, however; a savvy strategy utilizes both.
75. The top preferred communication channel for millennials is live chat. According to Comm100, millennials overwhelmingly prefer live chat for customer service.
76. Customer satisfaction is highest in live chat. Statistics from CustomerThink suggest that live chat could be the best channel for providing customer service.
77. Companies that invest in customer experience also increase employee engagement by 20 percent. One McKinsey study found that companies that invest heavily in customer experience can simultaneously increase employee engagement by 20 percent. Positive changes for your customers often yield positive results in many areas of your business.
These statistics on customer service all provide a general outlook on the state of customer service, but if you want to take things to the next level, you’ll need to gather statistics on your own customers and customer service strategy. Try new tools and tracking methods so you can better understand your target demographics—and figure out whether your customer service approach is really working.
One tool that can help you learn more about your entire team is EmailAnalytics. With EmailAnalytics, you can track incoming and outgoing emails associated with any Gmail or G Suite account; you can learn each customer service rep’s average response time, number of emails sent, busiest times of day, and more—sign up for a free trial today to see everything it can do!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before exiting it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics, and co-host of the podcast The Entrepreneur Cast.