Consumers’ expectations regarding customer service are increasing even though they feel businesses’ attitudes towards customer service are not improving. Consumers say they are willing to spend more with companies that provide excellent customer service and would also try a new brand or company, travel a longer distance and sacrifice convenience to get better customer service. Consumers are likely to tell other people when they have good or bad customer experiences, but are more likely to spread the word when the experience is bad and tell more people about it. These findings come from the 2011 Global Customer Service Barometer research report by American Express.
Findings from the report:
Companies fail to exceed customers’ expectations
- 29% of consumers say their customer service experiences with companies usually miss their expectations (up 3% from 2010).
- 61% of consumers say their customer service experiences with companies usually meet their expectations (down 4% from 2010).
- 6% of consumers say companies generally exceed their service expectations.
- 22% of consumers feel that companies take their business for granted.
Good customer service is good for business
- 70% of consumers would be willing to spend more with a company that provides excellent customer service (up from 58% in 2010).
- 15% of consumers would be willing to spend 20% or more with a company that provides excellent customer service (up from 5% in 2010).
- 73% of consumers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of good customer service experiences (up from 57% in 2010).
- 59% of consumers would be willing to try a new brand or company in order to get better customer service.
- 22% of consumers would travel a longer distance to get better customer service.
- 19% of consumers would sacrifice convenience to get better customer service.
Why are consumers willing to spend more with a company that provides excellent customer service?
- 33% – Companies who provide excellent service have earned my business
- 27% – I place a high value on excellent customer service
- 18% – Excellent service is worth spending more to me
- 18% – I refuse to do business with a company that provides poor service
- 4% – I only spend money with companies who provide excellent service
Consumers talk about good and poor customer service experiences
- 48% of consumers tell other people about good customer service experiences “all of the time”, while an additional 46% tell other people “sometimes”. Whey they do tell about a good customer service experience, they tell an average of 9 people.
- 59% of consumers tell other people about a poor customer service experience “all of the time”, and another 35% tell “sometimes”. Whey they do tell about a poor customer experience, they tell an average of 16 people.
Customers believe small businesses provide better service
- 81% of consumers agree that small businesses place a greater (43%) or somewhat greater (39%) emphasis on customer service compared to large businesses.
Problem resolution – solve the issue first
In the best customer service experience you’ve ever had with a customer service professional dealing with an issue or concern, the representative…
- 66% – Was able to solve the issue
- 65% – Was friendly and listened to my concerns
- 63% – Addressed my issue or concern in a timely manner
- 59% – Made me feel like they valued my business
- 53% – Went above and beyond in addressing my issue
- 43% – Took accountability for dealing with the issue
- 41% – Followed up when the issue was resolved
Call centers need to consider how customers feel about common scripts
Which of the following phrases frequently used by customer service professionals do you find most annoying?
- 27% – We’re sorry, but we’re experiencing unusually heavy call volumes. You can hold or call back at another time. Apologies for the inconvenience.
- 27% – We’re unable to answer your question. Would you please call this number so that you can speak with a representative from another team, they should be able to answer your question.
- 26% – Your call is important to us, please continue to hold.
- 7% – Can you please repeat your account information?
- 5% – Let me check with my supervisor.
- 5% – Your call has progressed in the queue and will be attended to by the next available operator.
Consumers place a high value on a good customer experience, but companies are not keeping up with rising expectations. This presents a great opportunity for those companies that get it right, but it will not happen without a concerted effort to focus on the customer. Those companies that figure it out will get rewarded with increased customer spending, increased customer loyalty and increased word-of-mouth advertising.
For an interesting infographic on this study visit the blog at Return on Behavior Magazine.
Send an email to Jim S Miller, the author of this post, at email@example.com.