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10 Surprising Customer Service Stats for 2016

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We all want to be more data-driven in 2016. We know survey data and reports reveal important insights that can help us improve your customer service centers.

Here’s a roundup of ten surprising customer service stats to help you go into 2016 armed with useful data.


Customer Service Impacts Loyalty

We’ve heard this claim a million times by now. But what are the numbers to back it up?

1. You’re 14 times more likely to sell to an existing happy customer than sell to a new customer. >>Tweet This!

2. Each year companies lose an estimated $41 billion due to their poor customer service. >>Tweet This!

3. Customer service is very important or somewhat important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand for the vast majority (97%) of global consumers.  >>Tweet This!

4. Poor customer service experience has motivated 62% of global consumers to avoid a brand or organization. >>Tweet This!

Customers Want a Self-Service Option

5. 90% of consumers expect a brand or organization to offer a self-service customer support portal. >>Tweet This!

6. 1/3 of consumers say they would “rather clean a toilet” than speak with customer service. >>Tweet This!

7. 3/4 of consumers want the ability to solve product/service issues on their own. >>Tweet This!

8. 60% of consumers view a brand with a mobile-responsive self-service offering more favorably. >>Tweet This!

Customer Support Teams Need Support

9. Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. >>Tweet This!

10. Nearly 80% of customer service centers say their current customer service systems won’t meet their future needs. >>Tweet This!

To-Do’s for 2016

I reached out to Help Scout Marketer Gregory Ciotti to get his input on what customer service teams should do differently in 2016 based on the latest customer service stats.

“There’s always something interesting to learn from the Salesforce Research’s State of Service report,” Gregory told me about the an annual survey of over 1,900 global customer service leaders.

“Of all the statistics made available this year, perhaps the most jarring piece of data was the following:

“The disparity between high-performing teams and underperformers is shocking,” Gregory said.

We know correlation isn’t causation. Still, it’s probably NOT coincidence that empowered agents perform better.

“Granting support the autonomy it needs to take care of problems isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s table stakes,” Gregory said. “Of course, saying a support team is empowered and actually empowering them are two different things.”

True nuff. As we’ve covered on this blog, a common customer service fail is poorly trained, dis-empowered customer service agents.

At Help Scout, we put support on equal footing with every other department in the business,” Gregory said.

“Here are a few practices we’ve learned from empowered teams that we apply to our own support,” Gregory said.

Head of Support should report directly to the CEO. For companies of our size, to not have your support lead in direct contact with your C-level means there is a huge disconnect. Part of improving your customer support means putting your support team at the table; giving the head of support the opportunity to represent their concerns is the only way to get unfiltered input.

Support teams should work with product teams. The queue is a goldmine of unsolicited product feedback that would disappear if not for the support team. Everyone on our support team is empowered to organize and pass on customer feedback to the product team—we use a simple system in Trello to make it easy. Without the autonomy to make these decisions, it’s tough for a support team to help anyone get what they need.

Support teams should prefer guidance over hard rules. A key part of increasing customer satisfaction is giving your support team plenty of guidance and training around what to do and who to talk to in uncertain situations. But you also need to give them the freedom to help customers in unplanned ways. The most important guidelines you’ll write will be around security, pricing, and tone. In most other instances, autonomy gives support teams the flexibility needed to impart “frugal WOWs” to customers, earning loyalty by giving extra unexpected effort.

Here are two more stats to leave you with. For 76% of consumers, customer service is the true test of how much a company values them. And yet, 45% of customers can’t remember having a recent successful customer experience. Customer service fails included poor response times for 35% of survey respondents. Poorly trained or disempowered agents foiled the interaction for 30% and 31%, respectively. And 29% of customers received inaccurate or conflicting information from customer service.


A goal for this blog is to help teams become more data driven. To learn more, check out these posts: What is NPS? Net Promoter Score Explained, 3 Strategies to Improve Your Customer Satisfaction Score – Even For a Seasoned Rep, How to Use Net Promoter Score: Sabrina Bozek Offers Tips for B2B Customer Experience Pros.

What are some stats that have helped you fine-tune your processes? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for Customer Service software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Service software solutions.

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About the Author

Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz helps B2B software companies with their sales and marketing at Capterra. Her writing has appeared in The Week, Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, VICE Motherboard, Reason magazine, Talking Points Memo and other publications. She has been quoted by the New York Times Magazine and has been a columnist at Bitcoin Magazine. Her media appearances include Fox News and Al Jazeera America. If you're a B2B software company looking for more exposure, email Cathy at . To read more of her thoughts, follow her on Twitter.


[…] as no surprise that customer service has a significant impact on customer loyalty. Companies are 14 times more likely to sell to an existing happy customer than to a new customer. What’s more, the vast majority of […]

[…] as no surprise that customer service has a significant impact on customer loyalty. Companies are 14 times more likely to sell to an existing happy customer than to a new customer. What’s more, the vast majority of […]

[…] These days, most customers prefer to skip long wait times over the phone or email responses to solve an issue. They would much rather opt for self-service support options. Research by Capterra also showed that 75% of customers prefer to solve product or service issues on their own without relying on an agent. […]

[…] Have you ever had a bad customer service experience? Chances are you have, and it likely made a very memorable impression on you. This is true for all of us. Great customer service can easily boost your store to new levels of success. However, bad customer service can drive your customers away in an instant. In fact, research shows that 62 percent of consumers have stopped shopping at a particular store due to a bad customer service ex…. […]

[…] shows that “a poor customer experience has motivated 62% of global consumers to avoid a brand or organization”. People dislike customer service lines with long wait times and […]

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