If bees were money and acting nice is honey, then the saying is true — you’ll catch and save more by being polite.
That’s at least what happens when you call into customer service, says a new survey from mobile advertising company Marchex. Being nice to the representative increases your chances of saving money or getting a deal by 50 percent.
“For consumers, it’s a good reminder that in the heat of a frustrating customer service moment, remaining calm is your best bet,” says Marchex marketing executive Guy Weismantel. “Being polite isn’t just about having good manners and more pleasant conversations — it’s also a strategy that, when put into action, can correlate into more lucrative deals for brands and their customers alike.”
Politeness can increase profits
Customers can increase their chances of saving, but companies can also increase their sales. From the results of the survey, it looks like they need work on being more courteous.
More customers (79 percent) are polite to customer service agents then the other way around, with only 57 percent of them doing the same.
According to Marchex’s study, it’s in a company’s best interest to have their service agents act more polite when speaking to customers. When sales reps are more polite to customers, they have three minutes longer on average to close a sale than if they are acting rude.
One client of Marchex said after doing the math that companies could increase their profits by 35 percent yearly — if all agents were polite. That adds up to $400,000 in monthly revenue, or almost $5 million per year.
“While being polite to customers may seem like common sense for service representatives, the data shows that agents aren’t actually showing this courtesy in many cases, and ultimately it’s impacting the bottom lines of the businesses they represent,” Weismantel says. “This further reinforces the importance of properly training customer service teams.”
Generation Z is tough on customer service
In fairness to service reps, it looks like maintaining a level head is getting much harder with Generation Z — the youngest generation of consumers. They are the most difficult to keep on the line, says a previous study from Marchex.
The mobile advertising company looked at more than 2.3 million phone calls to businesses throughout the U.S. in 2016, and found that consumers aged 18-24 have the shortest attention spans and patience for customer service agents — but they called into companies more than other age groups.
They’re 60 percent more likely to hang up if not responded to in 45 seconds, and 30 percent more likely to curse over the phone at a business. They’re also more likely to use technology while contacting a company. They’ll search for a company, click on the phone number on a website, and will review and microblog about a company’s service while on the phone with a representative.
“Gen Z consumers can be speaking to a customer agent, research everything that agent is saying and simultaneously tweet about how great or awful their experience is,” Gravlee says. “The faster businesses can understand the patterns and preferences of Gen Z, the faster they can gain footing with this next wave of consumer growth and ensure their own success.”
Those customer service agents struggling to stay polite at their current job may want to consider doing something else for a living — it’s only getting harder from here.