UK consumers are not prepared to pay for enhanced customer service if they can get a product of the same quality elsewhere for a better price.
A poll among 3,000 adults undertaken by marketing agency Group Positive revealed that, apart from price, product quality was the most important criteria for just under two thirds when buying commodity items such as clothes, books, music or electronics.
Only 12% said that excellent customer service was their most important consideration, while a mere 10% attached most value to the store or its staff making them feel valued. Ethical and environmental concerns appeared to be on the wane, however, with a tiny 8% indicating that they were a primary concern when making a purchase.
Maia Honan, Group Positive's director said: "It seems that customer service has become low on people's priorities as their focus turns towards getting the best quality for as good a price as possible. However, what consumers say and how they behave can be very different."
The reality was that customers were not prepared to pay for better service if the same product quality was available for a better price, she added.
"That's not the same as saying service doesn't play a part. It's just putting that element of a retailers' proposition into clearer perspective. Responding to customer needs, whether that's through engaging communications or excellent service, is the best way to retain great customer relationships," Honan said.