In 2013, a customer service study from Accenture revealed as many as 66% of consumers switched brands or businesses due to poor customer service. The number reflects a 4% increase in customer losses from the prior year, and reveals an increasing need for optimized customer service and customer experience strategy. Of those who switched, 82% said the business that lost their patronage could have done something to save the relationship. These numbers only continue to increase as more consumers turn to review sites to seek resolutions to their issues with brands. How many customers are you currently losing due to customer service oversights? How are those unhappy former customers informing your potential customers and changing their perception of your brand?

Current Customers’ Experiences
There’s a lot of opportunity to keep and earn customers in this pie chart.

Your current customers’ experiences inform your potential customers’ perceptions of your brand.

Customers continue to grow their voice in the digital space year after year. Proactive customer experience strategy begins with addressing all customer service channels, including the newest and most impactful — organic search (Google, Yahoo, and Bing). Using smart tooling to identify a possible issue before it escalates into an indelible mark on organic search perception could be the difference between new customers connecting with your brand or being deterred. After all, organic search is often where a customer begins researching their purchases. Many consumers begin their product research with a simple Google search of a brand name plus words like “reviews” or “complaints.”

The Customer Outreach funnel below illustrates the tremendous impact of organic search on how potential customers perceive your business. While direct and social media based customer service channels tend to be first and second points of contact, what often shows up in organic search through Google and other search engines is negative sentiment born of customers trying to connect with a brand through multiple failed touches. The result? Potential customers researching your brand see negative sentiment and select your competitor because they see less negative feedback about that brand. This is why brands can no longer afford to ignore organic search as a customer service channel.

Customers’ Outerrich Funnel
Review sites are often the last ditch effort for a customer’s voice to get heard. They also have the most powerful impact on brand reputation in organic search.

Save customer relationships by equipping your team to notice and respond quickly.

It’s time to equip customer service and marketing teams with smart tools that enable team members to prevent, identify and address adverse events. Many businesses focus on one or two customer service channels while overlooking some of the more impactful channels such as organic search. Businesses should consider each customer service channel as an impactful space for addressing customer complaints and resolving issues. Every customer service channel has unique qualities and potential to impact the customer experience. This informs how relationships with customers grow, and impacts potential for failed relationships when a customer’s needs are not met.