The Canadian findings were released today as part of the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, a survey conducted in Canada and eleven other countries exploring attitudes and preferences toward customer service.
"Canadian consumers are savvy when it comes to customer service," said Andrew Carlton, General Manager and Vice President, World Service at American Express Canada.
"They expect good value for their money and they vote with their feet
when they don't get it. 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 service - suggesting substantial growth opportunities for
businesses that get customer service right. It's important to see
customer service as a tangible investment in future loyalty and
relationship building with our Cardmembers."
Almost All Agree Service is Important, but One-Quarter Feel They're Taken for Granted
Not surprisingly, nine in ten Canadians (91%) consider the level of customer service important when deciding to do business with a company. But less than one-quarter (15%) believe companies value their business and will go the extra mile to keep it.
Most feel businesses can do more
to retain their loyalty:
- 51% believe that companies 'don't do anything extra to keep their business'
- Nearly one quarter think that companies 'take their business for granted' (24%)
Negative Experiences Leave Trail Online
Nearly two in five consumers (37%) report always or often using an online posting or blog to get others' opinions about a company's customer service reputation. But when consumers go online they're looking for "watch outs," saying they put greater credence in negative reviews on blogs and social networking sites than on positive ones (50% and 40%, respectively).
"Poor customer service experiences leave a trail online that can
have a lasting legacy on a brand," Carlton said. "In the online space,
positive recommendations are important, but people often give more
weight to the negative. Every service interaction a company has online
with its customers is crucial. Developing relationships with customers,
listening to them, anticipating their needs, and resolving issues in a
quick and direct way leave a lasting impression."
Canadians Vote with their Feet
A negative service experience is an important factor for most Canadians: 85 per cent have decided never to do business with a company again because of poor customer service in the past. When asked how many poor experiences they allow, greater than two in five Canadians (44%) reported it takes two poor service experiences before they stop doing business with a company. Twenty-six per cent say they would discontinue their patronage after just one bad experience.
Importantly, consumers are far more forgiving if a company has earned their trust over time. The vast majority of consumers (88%) report they're willing to give a company a second chance after a bad experience if they've historically experienced great customer service with that company.But companies who get it wrong should realize it's at a cost.
- Half of consumers (52%) expect something in return after a poor customer service experience.
- Beyond just resolving the problem, most consumers (77%) want an apology or some form of reimbursement.