Everyone has an opinion today, and if you check social media, you’ll see that no one is afraid to share it. As a business owner, you might have an opinion too—about politics, prices, people, or promotions. But if you are smart, you’ll only pay attention to your customers’ opinions. Here’s why.


The Bad News First

What people think about you is important. If someone leaves your company with a bad taste in his mouth, you can’t just say good riddance. Because you probably haven’t lost just one customer, you’ve lost that person and all their friends. It really doesn’t take much for a salty situation to spread. People in this country will tell around 15 people about a bad service experience, but they’ll tell only tell 11 people about a good experience. And what drives them the most crazy? The primary reason customers will switch away from products and services is the feeling of underappreciation.


Let’s Focus on the Good

Although people take their negative opinion to their friends in person, when they are online, they tend to want to appear more upbeat. More than half of Americans will post about their good experiences with a business, whereas only about a third will post about bad experiences.

What do people feel like is the most important thing a company can provide them with? According to a Forrester survey, 66% say it’s good online customer service. American Express Customer Service Barometer tells us that 70% of American consumers will spend more money to do business with a company that delivers great service. How much will that affect your business? Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits anywhere from 25% to 95%.

And you are especially going to want to treat your Millennial customers well. They are willing to spend up to 21% more for exceptional customer service. If Millennials aren’t your target audience, never fear. Across the board, Americans spend up to 17% more for better customer service. That’s great news, since it’s an upswing from the past few years.


The Best Response

So, knowing that the opinion of 64% of people is that experience is more important than price, it would make more sense to spend your time, energy, and money on improving your customer service rather than lowering your prices. How do you make those improvements? You make sure you are there where and when your customers need you.

Research has shown that most people (54%) still prefer to reach customer service via email. Though, as always, Millennials tend to be a little different and reach out with a chat option. Regardless of how your audience reaches out, they want you to be there when they ask you to jump. Emails are expected to be answered within an hour, according to Toister Performance Solutions. Chat users want answers within 45 seconds. Any way you look at it 75% of online customers expect help within five minutes. Attention to improving customer service benefits your company in other ways as well. Employee engagement rates tend to increase by 20% with improved customer service.

As it turns out, respecting the opinion of your customers is beneficial to you and your business as well. Listening to what they want leads to more profits. And don’t forget the old retail adage: “Customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price.”