By Bryan Peterson

Identifying the cause of a drop in sales, a low conversion rate, or the loss of loyal customers may be difficult to isolate. But all of those problems can often be traced to a poor-performing customer service department. The importance of providing quality customer service cannot be overstated. It cannot be replaced by slashing prices, genius marketing tactics, or even an amazing, necessary product.

Here are some of the ways that sub-par customer service can affect your business, and how to overcome some common customer service issues.

1. Ruin Your Reputation

Where’s the first place customers turn to when looking for a new restaurant to try? The internet. Where is the first place disappointed customers go to express their concerns? The internet. Where do heart-warming anecdotes of exceptional customer service end up? On the internet.

In today’s world, the first impression of your company will probably be online, and if the first and most frequent search items for your company are poor reviews of bad customer service, your reputation doesn’t stand a chance. On the other hand, providing exceptional customer service with personal interactions can be one of your strongest marketing tools, as the ease of word-of-mouth marketing these days can do the work for you.

2. Lose Existing Customers

Even long-time loyal patrons will begin to look elsewhere if the hassle of purchasing or using your product outweighs the benefits, especially if your competition promises better customer service. It has long been known that customers are willing to pay extra if it means they’re getting support with their purchase, so long wait-times, rude customer service agents, or a lack of attention and personal detail can mean a significant loss in your existing customer base.

3. Experience Employee Turnover

The problem with poor customer service employees is the effect they have on the good ones. When those who hold themselves to high standards must pick up the slack, they may get burnt out, feel under-appreciated, or leave once they realize the reputation of the company and they’re department is in question. If the problems persist, your company will likely experience constant turnover, putting a strain on resources and affecting other departments.

4. Lose Profit

As an effect of the above three points, you’ll likely notice a drop in sales, a loss of revenue from return customers, and an excessive amount of time and resources being poured into recruiting and training, only to have to repeat the process almost constantly. These losses could very well mean the demise of your company as a whole, all because of a poorly-trained or poorly-performing customer service department.

The best way to avoid the problems from poor customer service is by preventing it from happening in the first place. To do so, foster an environment where excellence is expected and a part of the company culture. Set high standards that prevent common issues like long wait times, lack of attention and personal interactions, and inexperienced agents handling customer issues. If these or other problems do arise, nipping them in the bud as quickly and efficiently as possible can prevent them from creating some of the bigger issues listed above, and ensure that your company is known for its good customer service.