I was thinking about the power of numbers yesterday as I scanned the tweets and RTs that appeared under the hashtag #custserv. This got me thinking about what other numbers exist out there.

  • 58% of customers who took their complaint to Facebook or Twitter expected a response
  • Huge cost savings with social customer care – 90%+ savings
  • Customer services as such was the main social media objective for only 1.2% of marketers surveyed
  • 68% of ur customers who leave do so cuz they perceive u r indifferent to them
  • Repeat customers spend 33% more than new ones
  • 7 out of 100 URLs accessed by businesses were directed to Facebook and 10% of Internet bandwidth went to YouTube
  • Staff who use Twitter and other social networking sites while at work are costing UK businesses £1.38bn every year
  • A negative customer review on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook can cost a company about 30 customers
  • Only 3% of consumers believe that UK high street retailers offer great customer service!
  • 60–75% of customers will do business with a company again if it deals with a customer service issue fairly, even if the result is not in their favour
  • 80% of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8% of their customers agree
  • 73% of consumers end a relationship due to poor service
  • 74% customers would be prepared to pay more for a product if it came with better service
  • More than 50% of UK customers will spend more on products and services if the service experience was guaranteed to be first class
  • On average, UK consumers will pay a premium of 7% for the privilege of good customer service and 70 per cent state they would do more business with an organisation that offered decent customer care
  • 25% of UK holidaymakers check things out on TripAdvisor before they book their holiday
  • Poor customer service is costing UK businesses £15.3 BILLION
  • 49% of customers see personal recommendations from friends, family or colleagues as the most trustworthy source of information
  • 42% expecting their response in less than a day (via Twitter or Facebook)

These numbers like the tweets themselves are freely available, and often begin to take on a life of their own; particularly now with the ability to RT information.

We use numbers to support whatever point we are trying to make. And whatever number you want to back up whatever argument you want to make, it exists out there somewhere. And if the number comes attached to a known brand name or attributed to a known analyst even better.

But how often do we really think about the numbers we use, what they mean or the original context they appeared in? We seem to trust these numbers that exist in the open information economy implicitly. We become blinded by them: the bigger the number the more believable it seems to be.

And often, we need the numbers right now to back up an argument or a point of view. It’s always right now.

But what is the implication of this lack of rigour that right now brings? How often do we read the footnotes and explanations that accompany how these numbers came about; if they even exist?

How many business decisions have been made on the basis of these numbers?

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