What is the cost of not delivering on customer service promises? $38 Billion.

$38 Billion Dollars

That is impact on lost wages for customers who have to take time off from work in order to wait for service technicians.  According to a 2011 study the average customer loses $250 each time a customer has to wait for the cable guy, the plumber, or the appliance repair technician.  That is the equivalent to two days wages for the average American worker!

Virtually everyone has either lived-through or has hear a horror story about a company making promises that their delivery person or repair technician will be at your home between “9am and 11am” and then not delivering .  Over half of the people who responded to the survey said that their average wait time was 4.5 hours and that is cost them a sick day or a vacation day because their wait time was 2.5 hours longer than anticipated.

The Problem is Bigger than We Think

But the problem is actually bigger that this study indicates because customers encounter bad service and excessive wait times in many situations – namely in retail stores – each and every day.  This not only costs the customers lost time and money, but ultimately create customer loyalty problems for the retailer. 

And when this happens in your stores, who do the customer’s blame?  It is not the sales rep or the service rep, but your company.  In fact, 71% blame the company instead of the retail sales person!  To make matters worse, up to 27% of customers who encounter issues with long wait times and poor customer service will subsequently go to a competitor to meet their needs giving them an opportunity to win a your customer. 

Social Networking Makes the Issues Even More Challenging

Additionally, with the continued growth of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it is easy for your customers to broadcast their discontent with your business.  In this survey 49% of disappointed customers said they would have posted their complaint on a social media site.  And since the average person has 120 Facebook friends who love to re-post their friend’s updates you customer service problems quickly become bigger than you can even imagine.

Take Action Now

So the next time you are walking your retail floor take the time to observe whether or not your retail sales representatives are acknowledging and  greeting customers within thirty seconds.  If not, take action by 1.) greeting the customer yourself, 2.) directing traffic on the sales floor as needed, and 3.) training and counseling your team members on the reasons for and the techniques of how to get customers engaged quickly.

Want to learn more about how you can positively impact the customer experience in your retail store?  Contact us for a free one-hour consultation and to learn about our retail customer service training programs!

-          David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group.  As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has hired, trained, and performance managed thousands of retail sales representatives and retail managers.  You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at www.retailertrainingservices.com.