• Return on Service Report 2014

Return on Service Report 2014

04 July 2014

How important is customer service to a company’s financial performance? Most business leaders and senior executives would acknowledge that keeping customers satisfied is essential to long term success.

Happy customers are more likely to spend more and to recommend products or services to friends and colleagues. Cost, product quality and value for money are important, but most businesses understand that it is worth making the effort to ensure that customers receive good service at every touch point, as well as that any problems are dealt with quickly and efficiently.

But quantifying the effect of good customer service on the financial performance of a company is difficult. This report investigates how companies perceive the value of customer service, how they measure its effectiveness, and the role they expect it to play in their financial performance in the next few years.

To answer these questions, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU),on behalf of the international accounting network BDO, formed an independent steering committee of customer service experts who advised on a survey of over 800 companies in Europe, North America and Asia. The results show that while most of the businesses surveyed instinctively accept the need for good customer service, far fewer have seen tangible proof of a direct correlation between customer service and the bottom line or share price movement. This could be because they are unclear about how to quantify the impact of service – a difficult task, as we found when attempting to analyse the respondents’ customer service delivery in relation to their financial performance.

In this digital age, where social media and online customer forums play a significant role, consumer opinions are increasingly powerful. The influence that comments on Facebook and Twitter exert over business reputations has been proven time and again. As a result, good service and customer satisfaction have never been more important, and the companies surveyed agree that these factors are likely to become even
more critical in future.

The world’s most successful companies understand that customer focus is essential – but the experts interviewed for this report believe many other companies still have lessons to learn.