You’re probably hearing this question more and more, just as I am. “Whatever happened to customer service as a priority for businesses?”

Yes, I know, I know. That probably sounds like something someone’s grandfather said 50 years ago.Every generation pines for the good ole’ days. And yet, it does, at time, seem as if something changed after the pandemic fueled lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. As if the wait times for 1-800 support calls has gotten longer and longer. Like it’s now much harder to reach a human when you need one, yet that miserable 8-option, automated call tree doesn’t offer anything close to resembling your issue. Like sending an email is no better than sending a message in a bottle as far as response rate goes.

Customer service is still part of the foundation for successEspecially in our industry, but in just about every industry, it’s probably not executive intent to eliminate good customer service. The good businesses know that customer service is critical to sustaining a brand.

A few numbers to support the case:

65% of customers said they have changed to a different brand because of a poor experience.

After more than one bad experience, around 80% of consumers say they would rather do business with
a competitor.

It would seem the decision makers get it—especially in the banking, finance and insurance industries, where 67% of decision-makers polled by Gartner indicated that their number one customer service business goal was to “improve operational excellence” in 2023.

And yet…

And yet, how many times have you dreaded having to call an understaffed call center to have a problem resolved? How many times have you spent more time than you’d planned on the phone or on a chat with a support bot or representative, only to find the problem hadn’t been resolved.

Or, even worse, how many times has it taken you more than a few minutes to even find a way to reach out for assistance on a service issue?

There’s no doubt that, in most industries, we’re in a period of transition away from heavily staffed call centers to remote support and even AI-supported customer service. It’s very possible we’re simply in the typically uneven performance period inherent to any major transformation. In the long run, this change is likely a good thing. If an AI solution can resolve your issue in minutes, instead of hours, days or months, I know I’m all for it! One Forbes survey suggests that 86 percent of the participants polled agree with that sentiment.

Doesn’t it sometimes seem, however, as if, the bigger the company, the slower its response times and the lower the rate of resolution? That’s nothing new, and there are certainly many amazing examples of businesses able to maintain great service levels in spite of meteoric growth. And yet, 54% of the respondents to a Zendesk survey suggested too many brands treat customer service as “an afterthought.” Another study suggested that 62% of companies don’t respond to customer service emails. Or that 65% of those polled have needed to follow up more than once to get their question resolved.

Regardless of what’s changed, service is critical.

Maybe customers, in general, are simply less patient than they once were. We live in a world where everything (except a mortgage…a LOT more discussion on that coming soon, here!) is available within 24 – 48 hours with a click and a credit card. We finalize car and student loans on iPads. We buy just about anything online or from an app, whether it’s dinner or furniture. Technology is accelerating the purchase process. So it’s not a complete surprise that, perhaps where we once expected to wait on hold for an hour to have a question answered, we’re now enraged when that happens.

The key to all of this is that the best businesses—especially in a relationship-oriented business like mortgage and title insurance—understand that they can’t keep their customers waiting in suspense while an issue lingers. Silence is not customer support…

…but it could be great sales for that company’s competitors.

It may be cliché’ to say it, but VizionX is built upon service. From our first client on, we’ve built an organization that isn’t just a technology developer. We are title people as well, so we know better than anyone that ignoring a voice mail or email means a competitor will soon be getting that person’s attention.

We don’t intend to forget it!

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