You order the perfect gift for an important occasion and wait anxiously for days to receive it. Once your long-awaited package arrives you excitedly tear it open only to discover the wrong product was sent to you. You can’t find a customer service phone number anywhere and, after what seems like an eternity searching the company’s website, you finally locate an email address. Your anger level is at a 10 and you haven’t even contacted anyone yet. Sound familiar?

Customer service is not optional for business success, it’s a prerequisite. Here are three compelling reasons why you should focus on award-winning customer service.

  1.     Your first impression may be your only impression

According to a 2014 Parature study, 65% of 1000 customers surveyed claimed they have cut ties with a business over a single bad customer service experience. Conclusion: You have only one chance to make a positive impression on a majority of consumers, so make it count.

  1.     Word of mouth

You can spend a fortune on advertising but no marketing campaign can compare to personal recommendations. A Nielsen survey revealed that 84% of consumers either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family and friends. And don’t forget about the power of online reviews. Provide poor customer service and your company’s good name can be sullied in mere seconds. Do your best to leave a good impression on your customers when they contact you, it may be the only chance you have to interact with them.

  1.     Poor online experience will send potential customers to your competitors

Hell hath no fury like a customer scorned. When considering customer service, think customer experience. If you want your competitors to add you to their holiday card list then have a website filled with errors. IBM conducted a survey that revealed two-thirds of U.S. adults who encounter an issue on a website will leave for a competitor. Check your site often for errors, 404 pages and other problems that can potentially create a poor customer experience. Don’t do you competitors any favors.

When planning your company’s future, make sure that customer service is front and center. Creating a positive customer service experience will build a base of loyal patrons that will not only come back for more but will spread the good word about your products or services.