Why it shouldn’t be a side issue for companies

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As a Zendesk study shows, customer experience drives business growth. Half of consumers base their purchasing decisions on the quality of customer service.

Customer service can have a direct impact on business success: 48 percent of German consumers make purchasing decisions based on the quality of customer service. This is the result of the new annual study “Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2022” by Zendesk. It is proof that companies can increase their business success by focusing on the customer experience.

the Zendesk Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2022 shows that the majority (73 percent) of the companies surveyed worldwide believe that there is a direct connection between customer service and company success. Nevertheless, 42 percent of German consumers have the feeling that customer service is more of a side issue for most companies. As a result, there is still a gap between what customers expect and what companies are offering and doing.

Good customer service is a competitive advantage

“Companies cannot afford to have a purely transactional relationship with their customers. Good customer service is a key competitive advantage these days. However, this year’s report shows that there are some gaps between expectations and actual performance,” said Matthias Goehler, EMEA Chief Technology Officer at Zendesk. “Customers see this gap and make purchasing decisions based on the service they receive. This is perhaps the clearest signal that companies need to change quickly.”

Customer service can drive business growth

62 percent of German companies see a direct connection between customer service and company success, of which almost half of those surveyed (49 percent) believe that customer service has a positive effect on business growth. 80 percent of German customers state that they are willing to spend more money with a company that personalizes customer service. Just as many would invest more money if they could find the answers to their questions themselves online. The opportunity does not necessarily arise from a one-time interaction with the customer, but the resulting communication should be used to deepen the customer relationship. In Germany, interaction with customers increased by 13 percent compared to the previous year; so more opportunities were created to sell add-on projects to satisfied customers.

Customer expectations can drive business growth, but it can also hold it back. 43 percent of German customers state that their expectations for customer service have increased in the last year, which is partly due to greater online activity by consumers. Support channels play an important role in meeting these increased expectations. It pays for companies to be present where their customers are: 85 percent of German customers are willing to spend more money with a company that offers them their preferred communication channel with customer service. Nevertheless, just under half of German companies (51 percent) are pursuing a strategic plan for customer service in the medium to long term.

Customer Service: Service Agents Under Pressure

Higher customer expectations lead to greater pressure on service agents. In fact, according to the report, almost 65 percent of the managers surveyed believe that customer service employees play a crucial role in sales promotion. When it comes to solving problems, around half of those surveyed worldwide consider it important to communicate with helpful, empathetic service employees. After a positive experience with customer service, 63 percent of consumers surveyed globally are more open to product suggestions from service agents.

As a result, many companies need to rethink their view of customer service as a cost center. Investments in optimizing customer service functions have often not increased in line with company growth and customer expectations. Although the majority of local companies see customer service agents as essential for sales promotion, only a few German service employees (almost 15 percent) are extremely satisfied with their workload.

Service agent support is a clear focus for 2022 as service agent burnout remains a challenge. Only 17 percent of German service employees are currently very satisfied with the quality of their training. And that also seems to be noticeable among customers, because 59 percent believe that companies need to improve the training of service employees.

Closing gaps and paving the way for growth

58 percent of business leaders in Germany say their company sees customer service as a business priority. Yet only 38 percent of companies have a senior or managerial leader in the customer service department. The findings clearly indicate that investments in customer service are worthwhile, yet this is not reflected in the managers or in the tools and training for service employees. Additionally, customer service metrics must be viewed as business critical and reviewed with appropriate frequency and seriousness. However, only 23 percent of Germans surveyed totally agree that spending on customer service has kept pace with business growth.

“This year’s report shows that customer service teams can be catalysts for revenue growth and go far beyond the traditional definition of the customer service department. We have to look beyond the pure customer satisfaction value and consider the effects on business success,” adds Matthias Göhler. “It is the moment for leaders to step in to make positive progress and ensure business success through customer service. Success does not depend on one department, but on a company-wide mindset.”

About the methodology of the study: For the “Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2022Zendesk surveyed more than 3,511 consumers and 4,670 customer service managers, service workers and technology buyers from 21 countries and organizations ranging from small businesses to large corporations in July and August 2021. The results of each survey were weighted to eliminate sample bias. Benchmark product usage data comes from over 97,500 customers worldwide who participate in the Zendesk Benchmark. Zendesk benchmark data is based on product usage from July 2020 to July 2021.

Founded in 2007 Zendesk enables companies to offer good customer service online. The company powers billions of conversations worldwide, connecting over 100,000 brands with hundreds of millions of customers via phone, chat, email, messaging, social media, communities, review sites and help centers. (sg)

Also read: Customer experience: Five tips to understand customers even better