bad customer service“You can’t improve what you don’t measure,” goes one of the most famous quotes in business.

And this line has also been one of the biggest problems in doing great customer service.

“But you can’t measure it!” is the response I receive from a lot of budding entrepreneurs when it comes to chatting about customer support.

And to be honest, it is tough to measure it. Yet the reason we place such huge importance on customer support as we develop Buffer’s social media management suite is altogether for a different reason. It’s to make people feel great, because this law exists:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Customer support is the very rare opportunity to connect to your customers on an emotional level. You can’t do that in any other way.

The true cost of bad customer service

Our friends over at HelpScout, which we use daily to help our customers out, have done a wonderful thing. They wanted to finally find out the true cost of doing little or bad customer service? And here are the answers, backed up with the latest studies and research.

To summarize briefly, here are the 3 most important facts about bad customer service:

  • 86% of customers quit doing business because of a bad customer service experience
  • 78% of online customers recommend the brand to a friend after a great customer service experience.
  • Only 10% of companies deliver great customer service – the room for your company to stand out is huge

Here is the full infographic:

bad customer service

Especially when also looking at the latest social media stats it’s becoming very clear that any customer has an impactful voice they can raise at any time. Doing bad customer service seems to become less and less of an option.

I’m curious about one thing: Which company have you had the best customer service interaction with in the past?

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Written by Leo Widrich

Co-founder at Buffer.

  • Thanks for this article, AND thanks for your customer service, and delightful email messages. 🙂

    • LeoWid

      Hi Angela, so glad you like both the article and our customer service and email messages, I take this as a huge encouragement. Hope to get more greatness over to you soon! 🙂

  • Great article, & lovely infographic, especially how customer service is a clear way to differentiate your company (only 8% deliver great service? Wow.)

    And here’s another good one on customer service value I read the other day

    – Tim 🙂

    • LeoWid

      Hi Tim,

      Awesome, so glad you liked it and yes, pretty crazy isn’t it? That’s why I always think there is SUCH a massive opportunity to do great customer service.

      Thanks for the zendesk infographic, this is another great one!

      • Ya, the other stat that stuck out — a business typically hears from 4% of dissatisfied customers. So…

        In Real Terms Issue Importance Method
        – Multiplying by 25 the number of unique emails/messages on an issue can provide an understanding of its importance/affect in real customer terms.

        If thats true, I’ve just added a pretty handy service/product process tool to our company toolbelt.

        – T 🙂

  • Great article and one area many companies completely miss the mark on. I especially liked the infographic on how many companies think they give great service versus how many customers think they give great service.

  • Leo, I’m a little late to the party here but really enjoyed the article and infographic. Your point about customer support representing the “very rare opportunity to connect to your customers on an emotional level” really resonates.

    A person’s decision to become loyal to a company, product or brand is almost always an emotional one. When we experience great service or a great experience as a customer, it makes us FEEL something that compels us to want to go back to that company, product or brand in the future. Not only that, we usually then actively promote that company, product or brand, since we want others to experience the same feeling we did. Discussions with friends, family, colleagues at the office, etc. plant seeds in the minds of the people we communicate to and with about our great experience.

  • Paul

    Great visual and stats on how important customer services are to businesses. Nicely designed too! People do business with the face or social interaction of the business and not the business itself. Here is another blog article on how important customer services is to a business.

  • Nicole from Titan

    So true, so true. You make some great points. I hope it opens they eyes of some businesses out there! Customer Service, done right, will make money, not cost it.

  • Maryke

    Great infographic. Consumers often feel very helpless – I’ve also been in that position before. But thanks to, a website which allows me to write reports about my suppliers AND a copy gets sent to them, I now have a voice. What I love about this website in particular is the fact that Suppliers have the opportunity to respond to me and more often than not my queries get resolved and everyone wins.

  • amrita

    A bad customer service can lead to the customer dissatisfaction that can lose the customer and the cost of losing a customer is more than gaining a new customers.

  • Caldera Tech

    The way you interact with the customer on your first interaction and the method you adapt to solve their issue makes your impression. The first impression gives the idea if one can retain the customer or not.

  • Guest

    Worst customer service on planet:
    This is not the first time, but was the most awful.
    They made me wait over an hour, closed many times the chat, they are slow, disrespectful and with very dumb employees. If you are looking for a host, seriously, run away from bluehost.

  • James K.

    Worst customer service on planet:
    This is not the first time, but was the most awful.

    They made me wait over an hour, closed many times the chat, they are slow, disrespectful and with very dumb employees. If you are looking for a host, seriously, run away from bluehost.

    • Tom

      And tech support commits what I regard as unforgivable, indirect responses that are little more than links to knowledge base articles plus talking down to clients.

  • cisshanu

    Help desk outsourcing may help you in meeting your business needs. Outsource help desk support serve you 24/7 according to your work needs.

  • This is a very helpful article that emphasizes the importance of good customer service support. This is also true in the case of technical help desk support. Thanks for sharing.

  • Love it Leo! My startup Bawte (pronounced ‘bought’) is actually focused solely on Customer Service and the post-purchase experience. Love your thoughts…

  • PGHTransitHelp

    We may be small, non profit, and a 3rd party as well as in an often VERY TOUGH Field to provide service for ( Public Transit ) but we are always striving to improve our service 🙂 this Article was interesting, informative, insightful and an overall great read!

    Here’s to companies and business owners hopefully seeing this and improving on that which can be improved!

  • TheReportDoctor

    Remember on 3% of those who have bad service complain to you, and the other 97% tell the world about your poor services. 1 complaint = 33 customers with bad service.

  • Tipsographic

    Hello Leo, great infographic! Please, could we share it on our website (of course credited)? Thanks a lot, Stefania