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Livehelpnow challenge pushing business toward better customer service

customer service
customer service
Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack/Getty Images for OMEGA

LiveHelpNow understands the needs of businesses, particularly when it comes to customer service. According to the 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer, a survey conducted by American Express, just 7 percent of customers surveyed believed that the service they had received from a company went above and beyond their expectations.

The mission of LiveHelpNow is to help businesses increase their conversions. The company offers “a complete customer service experience that brings personal attention, timely responses and motivating incentives into the sales and support process of each and every business.” Recently, the company developed a challenge that ranks companies on a scale from one to 100. The challenge uses 12 criteria to develop a score for each participating company.

The sorry state of customer service

Just how bad is the state of customer service? The AmEx survey found that just over 30 percent of customers felt that businesses usually "miss their expectations" when it comes to customer service. One quarter of those surveyed believed that companies valued their business and were willing to go take the extra step for them. More than 40 percent of respondents considered businesses to be helpful, but unwilling to go above and beyond for them.

Customer service issues aren't just a concern in the U.S. A survey of members of the UK Contact Centre Association found that just over 20 percent of participants believed that senior management was not focusing on customer service at all. Only 40 percent of respondents felt that management adequately focused on customer service. One major finding of the UK survey was that less than half of those who responded drew any connection between good customer service and a loss of revenue.

The same is true in Australia. A survey of more than 2,000 adults in Australia found that companies lost about $8 billion per year as a result of poor service. The average person spends just over $800 before he or she decides to switch companies, the survey found. Moreover, 92 percent of respondents stated that they did switch companies at least over of the course of the last year as a result of bad service.

How customer service can help your business

Stellar customer service can dramatically improve your business' revenue and the sense of loyalty among your customers. The American Express survey found that two thirds of customers are willing to spend more money with a company that they feel offers excellent customer service. Three quarters of customers have spent more with a company that provided great service.

Businesses shouldn't underestimate the power of word of mouth, when it comes to both good and bad customer service. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents to the Australian survey stated that they would or had told their friends and others about their negative experience.

According to the American Express survey, people are more likely to tell others about negative experiences than about positive ones. Happy customers will typically tell about 15 other people about their experience, while dissatisfied customers will typically tell about 24 others.

What the challenge can do for you

The LiveHelpNow Challenge was created to bring a "gamification aspect to our business, backing a customer service professional’s work with metric monitoring," according to a representative from the company, and is "paired with a monthly contest.”

“If you have several customer service professionals who are monitoring your website through our software, it tracks performance and a lot of different metrics that are then calculated into an overall service score, which lets the customer service professional know exactly how they’re doing," the rep explains.

The metrics used in the challenge can give businesses a good idea of just how well their customer service is functioning.

“Some of the metrics included in the challenge are: how long does it take for you to answer a chat? How long does it take you to solve a consumer’s question? These metrics, along with a slew of others, are entered into a mathematical formula that ultimately gives you a score," the LiveHelpNow representative adds.

The contest comes into play at the end of each month. As the representative notes, "We routinely check in on some of these scores, and then at the end of each month we report back to those companies on who is doing the best, and who has the best customer service."

Participating in the challenge, or creating one of your own, can boost your business in two ways. It can make your employees excited about doing their jobs well, as they "want to have something to strive for," according to LiveHelpNow.

The challenge is also a win for customers, as they reap the benefits of employees who are trying to go above and beyond their expectations. Ideally, the changes made to your business's customer service quality will remain in place well after the challenge is over. If not, you can always participate in the challenge again to encourage an even greater response from your team.

Better customer service doesn't just mean happier customers. It's also a must for your company's bottom line. The majority of customers who have received great customer service have ended up spending more money with a company. If your service department needs to improve, LiveHelpNow encourages you to participate in the challenge today.