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What are the Consequences of Offering a Bad Customer Service Experience?

Few companies set out to deliberately offer a bad customer service experience. At the same time, though, most businesses that do offer their customers a poor experience may not quite realize they’re doing so. After all, a subpar customer experience can result from a variety of larger mistakes, including the failure to:

  • Respond promptly to all customer inquiries.
  • Provide a wide variety of communications channels by which customers and prospects can reach you.
  • Use agents skilled in offering a level of service that’s as friendly as it is satisfying to the customer.
  • Pay proper attention to the messaging used by your agents.
  • Apply data and analytics to continuously improve the customer experience.
  • Adopt cross-channel and omnichannel strategies to make sure all your communications efforts are aligned at all times.

Like it or not, if you’re not actively ensuring that all the above points are being met, you’re probably delivering an experience that’s falling short for at least some of your customers. And, although some or even most of the people who do business with you may not notice, a handful surely will. The end result is that you’re going to end up offering a bad customer service experience, at least part of the time.

And if that doesn’t seem like a big deal, let’s consider a few of the consequences that come from offering subpar service.


5 Consequences of Offering a Bad Customer Service Experience


a customer looking at online reviews to help decide next purchase on demand customer experience

A person looking at mobile application reviews to help decide the next purchase. Source:

1. Loss of loyalty. Give customers a great experience, and they’ll keep coming back for more. But if you offer them substandard service, and they’re not only likely to start ignoring you, but they’ll also likely hold you in a poor light for a long time.

After all, customers want to be loyal to you: They want to find a brand that’s easy to do business with, so they don’t have to constantly shop for alternatives. “People are increasingly loyal to the retailers, products, brands and devices that consistently provide exceptional value with minimum friction or stress,” as the experts at PwC put it.

People are increasingly loyal to the retailers, products, brands and devices that consistently provide exceptional value with minimum friction or stress.

So when you do something to jeopardize that loyalty? Whether it’s something simple, like a dropped call by an inexperienced agent, or something major, such as failing to reward customers for a years-long relationship. Either way, you’re not only losing out on the next transaction, but also robbing yourself of the benefit of years of continued business from someone you’ve already done the work of acquiring.

2. Loss of revenue. Make no mistake: The loss of all these transactions—and not just from existing customers, but new ones immediately turned off by a bad customer service experience—adds up in a hurry. According to NewVoiceMedia, “an estimated $62 billion is lost by U.S. businesses each year following bad customer experiences.”

And worse than just the immediate loss of this revenue is the fact that you’re all but giving it away to the competition. By offering a bad customer service experience, you’re effectively handing your competitors a golden opportunity to satisfy your customers, with very little effort on their part.

3. Loss of brand prestige. Less immediate than the loss of revenue, but potentially just as damaging, is the loss of brand prestige resulting from bad customer service. In today’s social media-obsessed culture, customers are quick to complain about a poor experience in very public ways, taking to Twitter or Yelp to offer detailed complaints about their frustrations with you.


retail stores getting reviews through social media on demand customer experience

Retail stores getting social media reviews about customer experience. Source:


And if you think negative online reviews don’t matter, think again. A 2017 survey on user-generated reviews conducted by Podium found that 58% of consumers look at online reviews at least weekly. A whopping 80% found those reviews to be just as helpful as the more formal product reviews on major retailer sites like Amazon.

Of course, these public shamings on social media aren’t always fair. But even if they are exaggerated, once they’re out there, the damage is often irreparable. Damage control helps to a relatively small extent once the negative feedback has gone public. And that makes it all the more important to take the appropriate steps to avoid such scenarios in the first place.

4. Loss of marketing effectiveness. And, fairly or unfairly generated, all of this bad word of mouth rarely goes unnoticed. When your business develops a poor reputation in the eyes of potential customers, the marketing tools and messaging you use to generate sales will have to work that much harder to get a foothold. And that means your lead conversions will suffer, as will your efforts at outreach via email, social or even sales cold calls.

It’s also worth pointing out this is a pain point that’s too often generated by another aspect of bad customer service: The failure to immediately follow up when you do receive a lead, be it via an online lead form or a call to your customer service line.

Even a slightly tardy response to inquiries—be it from not having enough agents on hand, or not having a sophisticated enough system to adequately track the activity you’re generating—amounts to a negative customer experience, whether or not you realize it. And the bottom line is a failure to convert leads that would otherwise be slam-dunks.

5. Loss of employee confidence (and, potentially, actual employees). Another tangential result of bad customer service can be the loss of confidence by the people who work for you. Nobody likes to be associated with a subpar brand. And even if your business delivers the best product or service your industry has to offer, that’s not going to amount to much if your brand’s reputation is under fire.


person looking at a yelp review to decide which business to visit next on demand virtual call center

Customer looking at Yelp reviews to decide on which restaurant to visit next.


The result of all this is a tendency for your employees to lose faith, and therefore effectiveness, in your business. There can be feelings of burnout if talented employees are continually under siege from unhappy customers, or when quality customer service agents are expected to pick up the slack from teammates who aren’t performing adequately.

Before long, this can also result in an exodus of your most talented team members, who probably have plenty of other prospects facing them if they should start to feel dissatisfied in any way with your business. (And if you don’t think your best and brightest agents aren’t being actively courted by the competition, you may be fooling yourself.)


Avoid the Impact of Bad Customer Service Experience: We Can Help.

No company is perfect, and the occasional bad customer service experience can occur even under the watch of the most diligent leadership. At the same time, though, that’s no excuse for taking unnecessary risks. As we’ve seen from the points listed above, there are more than a few very good reasons why businesses should work to offer the best possible experience for their customers.

And if you feel that it’s beyond your abilities to do so, you’re not alone. Customer experience has become a highly sophisticated science, requiring not just complex technology but also real expertise to drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. For that reason, many businesses of all sizes are turning to on-demand customer care solutions to help meet these important goals.

With more than 20 years of experience helping companies across many industries achieve and even surpass their customer service goals, Working Solutions specializes in serving businesses like yours find the right combination of CX elements that leads to success.

Interested in learning more? We’re standing by to answer any questions. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation with a Working Solutions expert.

Discover how we can help you improve your customer experience in a way that helps to drive sales and grow your business.

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