Being in stock is key to improve customer satisfaction

By Lennon Barrow, Business Analyst Intern at Enhanced Retail Solutions LLC

In the dynamic realm of business, one fundamental truth remains unchanged: the paramount importance of customer service. Beyond merely addressing inquiries or resolving issues, exceptional customer service embodies a company’s commitment to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and long-term success. It serves as the cornerstone of positive brand experiences, fostering trust, and building lasting relationships with customers. In this post, we explore the expectations surrounding the customer experience, as well as the importance of great customer service.

Recently, we have seen the detrimental impact of bad customer experiences with Boeing. On January 5th, an Alaska Airlines flight caught national attention after the door plug of a Boeing 737 Max 9 blew out at 16,000 feet. Boeing, which is among the largest global aerospace manufacturers, has since been under heavy scrutiny. In addition to a decline in Boeing’s stock and a criminal investigation of the company, Boeing has lost consumer confidence, and many travelers are changing flights to avoid Boeing planes. These issues highlight the impact of poor brand perceptions and the importance of a positive customer experience.

Do consumer expectations vary? 

It is worth noting that customer expectations may vary between industries, such as airlines and retail. For example, travelers often expect a safe, comfortable experience when flying, whereas many consumers expect convenience and product availability when shopping. A store being out of stock is a major reason for a consumer to go elsewhere. Lost sales are very costly for retailers on several fronts. On the other hand, there are also similar expectations across different industries. Consumers expect product or service quality, prompt resolution of issues and complaints, and personalized offers or services that culminate in a positive customer experience.

In addition to some variation across industries, consumer expectations of service may vary depending on the price of goods or services. Consumers purchasing high-end or luxury products/services often expect an exceptional level of customer service to match the premium price they are paying. Expectations may include personalized assistance, exclusive perks or benefits, expedited support, and a seamless overall experience. In comparison, consumers purchasing budget-friendly products or services typically expect adequate customer support and user-friendly processes for inquiries, returns, or refunds. Overall, responsiveness and a customer-centric approach remain key attributes of successful customer service, regardless of price points.

So, how do customers actually feel?

Although it is no secret that customer service is essential for a company’s long term success, there still seems to be much room for improvement in our current business environment. According to Bain & Company, 80% of business leaders believe their companies provide superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agree with them. This demonstrates a significant delivery gap between companies beliefs and the actual customer experience. However, this gap also represents an opportunity for businesses to improve their customer service from good to great.

Additionally, consumers today expect businesses to deliver personalized experiences across various touchpoints, leveraging data and technology to create tailored interactions. According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more inclined to make a purchase from a brand that offers a personalized experience. This includes personalized recommendations, customized offers and promotions, tailored communications, and proactive support and assistance.

Why is customer service important for businesses?

Customer service is incredibly important for businesses across all industries. It plays a crucial role in building and maintaining relationships with customers, enhancing brand loyalty, and driving business growth. Great customer service ensures that customers have positive experiences when interacting with a company. Satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal, make repeat purchases, and generate positive word-of-mouth marketing. Furthermore, customer service can be a key differentiator. Providing superior service sets a business apart from competitors and can be a deciding factor for customers when choosing between similar products or services.

In today’s competitive business landscape, customer service expectations have reached new heights as consumers prioritize seamless experiences and personalized interactions. Gone are the days when satisfactory service alone sufficed; modern customers demand exceptional support across various channels, quick resolutions to issues, and proactive engagement from companies. Understanding and exceeding these evolving customer service expectations not only fosters loyalty but also sets businesses apart in a crowded marketplace.

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