How Good Is Your Customer Service?

Recently, we decided to perform some quick market research of the restaurant industry to try to get an idea of customers’ sentiments about the industry.

The following methodology was applied:

  • Gather Twitter data of the restaurants (Chili’s and TGI Fridays) for a period of 90 days (Q1, 2015).
  • Apply Voziq’s categorization engine to filter out noise and segment data into useful categories.
  • Use Voziq’s sentiment analytics engine to get sentiments or user comments.
  • Compare and spot the trends
The graph shows the result of Voziq's sentiment analytics engine used for Chili’s and TGI Fridays. It shows, the dishes (product) and their quality have got high scores (above 65% in most cases) from customers; however, customer service almost looks pathetic.

Sentiment analysis of customers of Chili’s and TGI Fridays

 

In these graphs, you will notice that the dishes (product) and their quality have got high scores (above 65% in most cases) from customers; however, customer service almost looks pathetic. In other words, both the restaurants have achieved success in their primary area of focus i.e. their signature dishes.

There has been a raging debate for some time now about which one is better – a product focused company or a customer focused company? Some argue that they are similar, while others strongly pitch for products over services. If there is a difference, is one approach really better than the other? The restaurant industry looks like a purely product driven industry. How else would you describe the above graphs?

Consumers today have a plethora of avenues at their disposal when it comes to voicing their opinion and seeking some level of customer service. In fact, thanks to these choices, customers are voicing their views publicly more than ever. Also, greater numbers of competitors have given rise to more options to the consumers. Changing brands is very easy and unemotional today. And here lies the need to understand the importance of customer service and customer experience. The following observations will definitely help you in understanding the impact of customer service.

  1. According to a Harvard Business School study on Starbucks, customer satisfaction has a massive impact on your revenue. Regarding Starbucks, they found that the satisfied customer visits 4.3 times per month, spends an average of $4.06 and is a customer for 4.4 years (Net Worth – $921.78). They went on to find that the highly satisfied customer visits 7.2 times per month, spends an average of $4.42 and is a customer for 8.3 years (Net Worth – $3,169.67).
  2. That’s great, but what happens when you have a dissatisfied customer? In a Customer Experience Report, researchers found that the #1 reason customers abandon a brand is due to poor quality and rude customer service. In fact, 89% of consumers reported stopping doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.
  3. Unfortunately, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), there was a four-point slide in the index among American consumers, going from 76.6 in the last quarter of 2013 to 76.2 in the first quarter of 2014. Pretty insignificant slide, right? Wrong. It represents the largest in twenty years since the index has been monitoring American consumers.

In revenue terms, it equates to $84 billion – the cost of bad customer service in the US per year. [Source]

  1. However, according to consulting firm Walker, in their report “Customers 2020″, they have said that by 2020, customer satisfaction, more than price and product, will be the key brand differentiator. Without friendly service, no product can sell itself.

A Product Focused organization is one that has a roadmap and even vision for the product based on delivering something that the team believes will meet market demand – whatever the market may be. On the other hand, a Customer Focused organization is one where decisions about the product are made based on aligning customer needs and wants with the overall goals of the organization. Customer feedback via surveys, customer service emails, call center data, tweets, blogs and more in-depth qualitative research are golden nuggets in these organizations. So, is there really difference between these 2 approaches? And if there isn’t a difference, should these restaurants start improving their customer service, considering that their menus are already impressing their customers?

 

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