Customer service more important than ever!by
Although consumers are willing to spend an average of 9% more with companies that provide good customer service, only just over a third believe that brands have increased their focus in this area during the current difficult economic climate.
According to a study of 1,000 consumers undertaken by American Express, just over three out of five feel that quality customer care is more important to them than ever, while nine out of 10 say that they take customer service into consideration when deciding whether to do business with a company or not.
But only a quarter of respondents felt that brands valued their custom and went the extra mile to keep it. Just under half indicated that, while companies may be helpful, they failed to do anything special to retain their business. Worryingly, one out of five respondents believed that brands simply take them for granted, however.
Jim Bush, executive vice president of Amex’s world service, said that consumers’ current focus was on getting good value for money. "Many consumers say companies haven’t done enough to improve their approach to service in this economy and yet it’s clear they’re willing to spend more with those that deliver excellent customer service, suggesting substantial growth opportunities for business that get customer service right," he added.
As a result, it was important to see customer service as an investment rather than a cost, Bush added.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the research entitled the ‘American Express Global Customer Service Barometer’ revealed that shoppers were more inclined to talk about positive (75%) rather than negative (59%) experiences.
They were also more inclined to give a brand repeat business after a good customer service experience (81%), although about the same number said that they had decided never to use a given brand again because of poor customer care.
About half said that it only took two bad experiences to terminate the relationship, although 86% said they would give a company a second chance if they had historically been happy with its service. About 52% wanted some form of compensation for a bad experience, however, with seven out of 10 expecting an apology or reimbursement.
The three most influential factors in deciding whether to shop with a given brand in the first place, meanwhile, were personal experience (98%), a firm’s reputation or brand (92%) and recommendations from friends and family (88%).
Nearly half of respondents said that they always or often used online posting or blogs when assessing brands’ customer service reputation, but gave greater credence to negative reviews (57%) than positive ones (48%).