Raising the service stakes: one in five Canadians have used social media to get a customer service response and expect more for their loyalty

- New research by Amex finds social savvy consumers have higher service standards -

TORONTO, Sept. 25, 2012 /CNW/ - Social media is a burgeoning channel for customer service with one in five Canadians (18%) having used social media to get a customer service response at least once in the past year. The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer found that Canadian consumers who have used social media for service can have an impact on a company's bottom line. They tell significantly more people about their good service experiences, and 14 per cent are more likely to have not made an intended purchase in the past year due to a poor service experience.

"It's important that today's consumers are able to engage with companies across multiple channels," says Marc Hollenberg, Vice President of Customer Experience at American Express Canada. "And social media is a great way for consumers to have a two-way conversation, but it is important to have a process in place to address customer inquiries in a timely manner."

The annual survey is conducted in 11 countries and explores consumer attitudes and preferences about customer service. This year's survey revealed seven in ten consumers said they are willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service. Canadians who use social media for a service response say they'd spend 17 per cent more with companies who deliver great service - compared to 12% on average.

Good or bad, consumers are spreading the word on service

When it comes to poor experiences, consumers are significantly more likely to talk about it. Three in five (63%) tell others about a poor service experience all the time, while just over half (54%) will tell others about good experiences as frequently.

Compared to last year, consumers tell more people about their customer service experiences, both good and bad. On average, they tell 13 people about their good experiences (up from 9 in 2011), and 21 people about their bad experiences (up from 16 in 2011).

Canadian companies fail to stack up to service expectations

This year's survey revealed a sallow state for service. Nearly a third (32%) of Canadian consumers believe that businesses pay less attention to providing good customer service, a significant increase from 2011 (24%). What's more, in the past year, three in five consumers (61%) intended to conduct a business transaction or make a purchase, but decided not to based on a poor service experience.

"Creating an exceptional service experience is just good business," says Hollenberg. "Canadians have more choices than ever before on where they spend their dollars, and are looking to create an emotional connection with the brands they choose."

Canadians are losing their cool with poor service experiences

With 32 per cent of consumers reporting that companies usually miss their expectations for customer service, Canadians are beginning to lose their cool. More than a third of consumers lost their temper with a customer service professional in the past year (34%). Of those who lost their temper, Canadians have expressed their frustration in a variety of ways:

  • Insisted on speaking with a supervisor (66%)
  • Threatened to switch to a competitor (43%)
  • Hung up the phone (39%)
  • Demanded to know the customer service professional's name (27%)
  • Stormed out of the store (21%)
  • Talked about their experience via social media (20%)
  • Used profanity (12%)

"Anytime a customer is speaking with a customer service professional, it's a chance to not only answer their inquiry to their satisfaction, but to an opportunity to deepen the emotional connection, which can ultimately drive customer loyalty," says Hollenberg.

About the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer

The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer research was completed online among a random sample of 1,003 Canadian consumers aged 18+. Interviews were conducted by Echo Research between February 24 and March 1, 2012. Overall, the results have a margin of error of +/-3.1% at a 95 per cent level of confidence. The same survey methodology was also used in France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, India, Mexico and the U.S.

About American Express Canada

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express charge and credit cards, with outstanding products like the American Express® Gold Rewards Card, and the American Express® AeroplanPlus® Gold Card. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast. For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/AmericanExpressCanada.

SOURCE: American Express

For further information:

Megan Moulton, on behalf of American Express

Amanda Betti, on behalf of American Express

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