Customer Service: some shocking statistics and core truths.


The last few years have produced some eyebrow-raising statistics on many things, including customer service, most of which are easily found online. We think that the findings below are particularly notable and almost shocking, and yet they also make perfect sense.

First, and just to be different, we’ll give our conclusion at the start.

The Key Lessons

Here are what we think are the key “take-away” business ideas and principles that can sensibly be drawn from the findings below.

  • It is much easier to sell to an existing (happy) customer than a new prospect.
  • Repeat business from a happy customer is worth many times (e.g. 10x) the initial sale.
  • It costs several times more to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one.
  • “Settled” customers who know and trust you, spend more freely than new customers.
  • Any improvement in retention (e.g. 2%) has a much bigger impact on profit (by cutting costs for acquiring new customers and increasing spend per customer).
  • Most customers (the vast majority!) who receive poor service won’t complain. They just won’t return (though they may well tell friends about it, or post a review online).
  • Customers who have a “great” experience are much more likely to be loyal and to recommend you to others, than those who are merely “satisfied”.
  • How customers feel that they’re treated is as important (or more) as the price, product, or the “job” you do for them… and it will have as much influence on their future behaviour.
  • (everbody knows this) Unhappy people with an axe to grind will tell far more people about it than happy customers.

The “shocking stats” themselves

  1. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treatedMcKinsey.
  2. 80% of companies say that they provide superior customer service, yet only 8% of those same companies’ customers agree – Bain and Company / Harvard Business School.
  3. A customer who has a service-related problem is 4 times more likely to leave and go to a competitor than one who has a problem with the product or the priceBain & Company.
  4. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 3 to 12 times as high as that of selling to a new prospect (60 – 70% for an existing customer vs 5 – 20% for a new prospect)Marketing Metrics.
  5. For every customer who complains there are 26 more unhappy customers who have remained silentLee Resource.
  6. A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25%-95% – Bain % Company / Harvard Business School.
  7. A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%Leading on the Edge of Chaos, Emmet Murphy & Mark Murphy.
  8. A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. – White House Office of Consumer Affairs.
  9. Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4-6 people about their experience.White House Office of Consumer Affair.
  10. 55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better serviceDefaqto research.
  11. Customers who rate you a “full” 5 out of 5 are six times more likely (!?!) to buy from you again, compared to ‘only’ giving you a score of 4.8.TeleFaction data research.
  12. It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience“Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner.
  13. It costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing oneBain & Company.
  14. On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase -White House Office of Consumer Affairs.
  15. News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. – White House Office of Consumer Affairs
  16. It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. – White House Office of Consumer Affairs.

Some of the exact figures above might be debatable: some are dated, and may apply more to some markets than others. But we think that the principles are sound, and after all, it is impossible to make a customer experience “too good”.. any effective improvements will have real value to the business that implements them.

The bottom line message to us is clear: In order to thrive, every organisation should take well-considered steps to optimise the customer experience.

Please get in touch today for a no-obligation discussion about how Customerwise can help you to do this.

Call us on 01392 984224 or contact us online to arrange a suitable time to connect.



Posted in


Paul works creatively with a broad range of B2C and B2B organisations to help them find ways to compete more effectively. Read More...

Browse More


We’re now MSPA Elite!

new home open doors

3 Reasons for New Homes Developers to open your doors to CX Evaluation in 2024

Mortgage header

Ensuring FCA Compliance in Lifetime Mortgage Sales


6 Easy Ways to spot a Legitimate Mystery Shopping Company


Customerwise Blog CXWISE: University Admissions Journeys – What can go wrong?

New website

Welcome to our new website