Although UK consumers are the least satisfied in the world with the levels of customer service they receive, just over half would be willing to pay up to 7% more for goods and services if they received excellent service.
According to a survey undertaken among 1,000 UK adults by American Express, just under a third of respondents felt that brands failed to meet their expectations, with only one in 10 believing that they would go the extra mile for them.
Customers in other countries were twice as likely to believe that companies would make an extra effort, however, with 25% of Dutch shoppers 24% of Americans and 20% of Germans believing that this was the case.
Raymond Joabar, Amex’s UK managing director, said: "Britons want and expect excellent customer service and are willing to spend more for it even when budgets are tight. And delivering good service doesn’t just help businesses retain income – it could also help save them the cost of re-engaging disgruntled customers."
The firm’s ‘Global Customer Service Barometer’ showed that, while seven out of 10 UK consumers were more likely to give a company repeat business if they received good customer care, 44% adopted a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ approach.
Although four out of five indicated that they had decided never to do business with an organisation again following bad experiences, 62% said that they expected compensation for poor service. Four out of five wanted an apology, 62% thought a discount was appropriate, while 55% were after a free gift.
As to what brands could do to improve their customer service, Joabar gave five recommendations. Companies should listen to, anticipate and respond to customers’ changing needs efficiently and courteously. They should likewise focus on building relationships rather than transactions and aim to spend more rather than less time with every customer.
There should also be an emphasis on going the extra mile as shoppers did not forget it as well as investment in the right staff training and tools, even when budgets are tight. Finally, it was important for firms to measure themselves by their customers’ standards rather than their own and motivate personnel accordingly.