Study shows that Canadians see lack of good customer service

Only two per cent of Canadians think companies exceed their customer service expectation.

More than three quarters of Canadians are willing to shell out more to companies with a history of great customer service, and most will share their service experiences with others, even if they aren’t positive, according to the American Express Global Service Barometer.

“Great customer service has long been a key ingredient of successful companies everywhere, and these survey results clearly indicate the effect it has on a company’s bottom line,” said Julie Hay, vice-president and general manager, world service at American Express Canada, in a release.

The survey, which was also conducted in nine other countries, examined consumer attitudes and preferences around customer service to find out how much impact service has on consumer behaviour.

The survey was conducted by American Express, which operates in Canada as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. The research was completed online among a random sample of 1,001 Canadian consumers over 18 years old. Interviews were conducted by Ebiquity, a team of independent marketing performance specialists, between Aug. 19 and Sept. 2, 2014.

Key findings of the study include that 76 per cent of respondents said they’ve spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service, and on average will spend 12 per cent more; 57 per cent said they had walked away from a business transaction or purchase in the past year due to a poor customer service experience; 40 per cent of Canadians believe businesses are paying less attention to customer service (more than any other country surveyed) and only two per cent think companies exceed their customer service expectations; 94 per cent said they talk about their service experiences, even if they aren’t positive.

On average, Canadians said they tell eight people about a good experience and 17 about a bad one; 44 per cent said positive word-of-mouth from friends and family was more powerful in attracting new business than a sale or promotion (34 per cent) and much more effective than “an interesting ad” (three per cent); 21 per cent have used social media to get a customer service response in the past year, and 55 per cent felt Canadian companies improved their response times over social media channels.