The importance of customer service certainly cannot be underestimated, particularly in modern times. Gone are the days that customers were merely satisfied paying for a good product; the modern consumer is interested in the whole package the company provide – a large ingredient of which is good levels of customer service. Building a strong brand image is crucial to a company in order to encourage repeat custom and encourage customers to share their experience with their friends, relatives and peers.
Word-of-mouth is surely the most trusted source of information when a consumer makes their decision about the company that is right for them as it is information that has usually come directly from someone they know and trust who has had first-hand experience with the company. The main factor that will put off a potential new customer from spending their hard earned money with an untried company is the fear that they will provide a poor service and will let them down. Some consumers may be willing to take the gamble but most will choose not to without some form of assurances and in today’s age this will often come in the form of a review website. They may not know the person providing the review but they can rest assured that for the most part they will be impartial and a company with a strong level of positive customer feedback can convince the modern day shopper to put his faith in the company.
The importance of good customer service has been highlighted by the success of programs such as Watchdog, which are entirely based around the quality of customer service. Coupled with this we have witnessed an explosion in online based customer review sites over the past 12 months sprouting sites such as TrustPilot, whose sole business model involves collating customer service reviews from companies across a wide range of verticals – from Furniture Reviews to Money Reviews to Public Service Reviews. Moving away from the traditional product review model, one only has to look at the influence a sites such as TrustPilot and Money Saving Expert have to see the impact customer service review sites are having in the purchase cycle of consumers.
Overall, customer service is one of the most significant ingredients of the marketing mix for products and services. Great customer care is fundamental to building customer loyalty. No customers means no sales, and ultimately no business. Good service it seems has surpassed good product, or at the very least is as equally important to consumers.