The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer had a lot of interesting findings in their report for 2012. Here are some of them:

  • “With the exception of France (44%) and Japan (37%), over half of consumers have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences. Consumers in Mexico (85%), the U.S., Canada (75%, each), India (74%), and Australia (72%) are more likely to have done so compared to those in other countries. “
  • “Across all markets, over half of consumers indicate that they are willing to spend more with companies that they believe provide excellent service – significantly more consumers in India (87%), Mexico (82%) and Australia (71%) say they are willing to do so.”

They also found 17% of consumers made use of social media at least once in 2012 to assist them with service. These people are the same ones who are much more vocal about the brands they are loyal to, as well as the other brands that have rubbed them the wrong way. The study highlighted just how valuable customer loyalty was since it found that customers were willing to pay a whopping 21% premium for companies that gave them excellent service — usually through service media. The ones who still used the more traditional methods lagged behind, with customers only willing to pay an 11% premium.

It is also important to mention that very satisfied customers who air their positive reviews out on social media are able to relay their experience to 42 people on average while those who use literal word-of-mouth, only get to 9 people. According to the American Express report, in the U.S., the top activities people do when contacting customer service through social media are:

 1) Seeking an actual response from a company about a service issue – 50%
 2) Praising a company for a great service experience – 48%
 3) Sharing information about your service experience with a wider audience – 47%
 4) Venting frustration about a poor service experience – 46%
 5) Asking other users how to have better service experiences – 43%

Even without social media, people are still more likely to spread the word about positive customer service experiences, making it of vital importance for every company to view their interactions with customers as learning opportunities.

With the good comes the bad and a lot of people have complained about horrible customer service. Here are the more negative aspects of the study done by American Express, the top four things that customers complain about:

 1) Rudeness:  An insensitive or unresponsive customer service representative – 33%
 2) Passing the Buck:  Being shuffled around with no resolution of the issue – 26%
 3) The Waiting Game:  Waiting too long to have an issue resolved – 10%
 4) Being Boomeranged:  Forced to continually follow up on an issue – 10%

It has been said that bad news travels fast and with social media, disgruntled customers are sure to let people know if they have experience bad customer service with a company. Even worse, about 61% of the American correspondents of the survey conducted by American Express feel like businesses are not paying enough attention to improving their customer service, a drastic leap from how many felt the same way in 2011 which was 26% of Americans.

This survey provides businesses with a lot of data but the bottom line is that you truly reap what you sow.