The importance of customer service in a troubled economy

With the economy as it is, it can be difficult to determine which aspects of operations are most important.

With the economy as it is, it can be difficult to determine which aspects of operations are most important. While sales and marketing are important, it's easy to overlook the power of service quality in not only retaining customers, but bolstering your word-of-mouth appeal as well.

Of course, each business is different, and the most pressing concerns of a company always vary. But it may not really be possible for a company to focus too much on customer service. In fact, a recent study by American Express found more than two-thirds of U.S. consumers are willing to spend more with brands they see as offering superior customer service.

In a troubled market, it is even more important to improve your customer service standards, as sales become fewer and more subject to individual attention. There's also the fact that competitors tend to scale back their services in light of more pressing budget concerns. Businesses should resist this temptation.

"Remember, it's generally more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep existing ones," writes Mashable contributor Jeff Stibel. "Furthermore, when others are cutting the quality of customer care, improvements to your service will get your company noticed."