Customer service is more than please and thank you

Polite customer service agents do little to satisfy customers, but polite customers are more likely to feel satisfied, new data shows.

The Zendesk customer satisfaction benchmark shows that global customer satisfaction has increased to 83% in the second quarter of 2014.

The benchmark is based on customer service and support interactions from more than 25,000 companies, across 140 countries.

It measures key metrics around customer support efficiency, customer self-service behavior, and levels of customer engagement,and provides insight into how certain indicators influence the outcome of customer-company interactions.

According to the group’s data, New Zealand has the most satisfied customers in the world, with 93% of tracked responses indicating a happy conclusion to queries.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, India ranked as the country with the least satisfied customers, with only 58% of customers feeling satisfied.

Of the 32 countries ranked by Zendesk, South Africa places 19th overall, with a satisfaction rate of 84%.

Top 10 most satisfied customer countries

# Country Satisfaction rate
1 New Zealand 93%
2 Canada 92%
3 Norway 92%
4 Italy 92%
5 Switzerland 90%
6 Singapore 90%
7 Australia 88%
8 Denmark 88%
9 Mexico 88%
10 Czech Republic 87%

Top 10 least satisfied customer countries

# Country Satisfaction rate
32 India 58%
31 Turkey 68%
30 Colombia 71%
29 Ireland 76%
28 Spain 76%
27 Indonesia 77%
26 Poland 77%
25 Malaysia 77%
24 Philippines 80%
23 Germany 80%

In terms of the industries, IT services and consultancy companies managed to best deal with customers, with a 94% satisfaction rate. This is followed by Education (93%) and governments and NGOs (93%).

The Entertainment and gaming industry left most customers dissatisfied (75%), behind social media (78%) and travel and hospitality (82%).’

Tracking satisfaction

Things that impact a level of customer satisfaction are pretty straight forward, according to Zendesk – most notably, response times to queries. However, some indicators are less obvious.

Customer satisfaction vs response time
Customer satisfaction vs response time

Zendesk’s research shows that the length of queries (and subsequent responses) as well as word usage can provide indications as to levels of customer satisfaction.

More specifically, longer responses from agents would likely lead to dissatisfied customers – while customers who type massively wordy complaints are less likely to ever be satisfied anyway.

Data also shows that agents using words such as “sorry”, “please,” and “thank you” in response to queries and problems, and signing off emails with “best wishes”, leads to a bigger drop in customer satisfaction.

“Our research shows that word choice and word frequency have a direct correlation with customer satisfaction,” said Sam Boonin, vice president of products at Zendesk.

“We’ve found there are triggers around the word ‘sorry’, and when used more than twice, there is a problem brewing. This can be a helpful indicator for companies to know when to escalate a ticket, avoiding an unhappy customer.”

Customer satisfaction vs word use
Customer satisfaction vs word use

On the other hand, the research indicates that customers who use the phrases “please,” “thanks,” and “thank you” tend to be more satisfied.

“Being overbearing, overly stern, or generally rude to support agents is a common strategy for some customers seeking better service. However, the data indicates that customers who are polite tend to submit higher customer satisfaction scores than those who aren’t,” Zendesk said.

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Customer service is more than please and thank you