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Industry Research : Shoppers Punish Retailers for Poor Customer Service
Poor customer service kills sales, according to the results of a new survey of 10,000 people worldwide, conducted by American Express.
In all, 57 per cent of the 1,001 Canadians who responded to the online survey said they had abandoned a purchase due to poor customer service in the past year.
In the U.S., the figure was 60 per cent. The figure was highest among respondents in India – 71 per cent. In Mexico and Singapore the figure was 68 per cent.
Japanese respondents were much less likely to abandon a purchase due to poor customer service (36 per cent), even though they placed the highest premium on courteousness.
Customers are also increasingly likely to vent their frustrations about poor customer service online, according to Julie Hay, vice president and general manager, World Service at American Express Canada.
And the percentage of respondents who believe that companies are paying less attention to providing good customer service has increased significantly, to 40 per cent in the most recent survey, compared to 32 per cent in 2012 and 24 per cent in 2011, said Hay.
The statistics are a good indication that "it’s time to start focusing on providing great service," she added.
The research was done using an online survey, which drew responses from 10,000 people in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Italy, the U.K., India, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Sixty to 70 per cent of consumers in all markets except Mexico and Japan believe that companies generally meet their expectations for customer service.
However, about 25 per cent of consumers in most markets believe that companies usually miss their expectations.
When it came right down to it though, respondents across the board were much more likely to rate value at the right price as the best way that a company can stand out and exceed expectations for customer service.
Overall, 30 per cent of Canadian respondents chose value while only 18 per cent rated customer service as the best way for a company to stand out.
Respondents wanted more than just polite words. In Canada, 82 per cent of respondents rated providing satisfactory answers to their questions as very important when it comes to excellent customer service. To compare, less than half – 43 per cent – chose being thanked.
Efficiency was most important to respondents in most countries, followed by being dealt with without having to be transferred or escalate their demands.
In Canada, 76 per cent of consumers said they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences, and 69 per cent of Canadian respondents said they would spend more — about 12 per cent more — with a company offering excellent customer service.
In Canada, 50 per cent of respondents told others about their good customer service experiences all the time. But 63 per cent of Canadians said they complain about poor customer service.
Only 21 per cent of Canadian respondents said they were likely to take to social media to get a customer service response.
However, 51 per cent of Canadian respondents said they would use social media to vent frustration about bad customer service and 31 per cent would use it to praise an individual employee.
The survey was conducted in August. Overall, the results in each market have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at the 95 per cent level of confidence.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, November 3, 2014