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american-express-spending-for-good-customer-service-may11.gifSeven in ten Americans (70%) are willing to spend an average of 13% more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service, according to the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer. These figures are up substantially from 2010, when six in ten Americans (58%) said they would spend an average of 9% more with companies that deliver great service.

US Consumers Have Second-Highest Service Premium

The 13% premium US consumers will spend on a business providing excellent customer service is the second-highest among nine countries surveyed by American Express. Indian consumers are the clear leaders, willing to spend 22% more for excellent customer service. Countries with customer service premiums similar to the US include Australia and Canada (12% each), Mexico (11%) and the UK (10%).

6 in 10 Don’t See Increased Service Focus

Despite the greater value Americans are placing on customer service, many businesses don’t seem to be making the grade with consumers. In fact, six in ten Americans (60%) believe businesses haven’t increased their focus on providing good customer service, up 9% from 55% in 2010. And among this group, a substantial 26% think companies are actually paying less attention to service.

In most markets surveyed by American Express, less than one-third of consumers feel businesses have increased their focus on customer service.

Young Want Quick Answer, Older Hate Hold

amex-customer-service-phrases-may-2011.JPGLooking at a few common customer service phrases that annoy a large percentage of consumers, the survey finds that overall, being told to call a number to get an answer from a specialist annoys 27% of consumers, and 32% of those age 18-29.

Meanwhile, being told to call back later or stay on hold due to unusually heavy call volumes also annoys 27% of the general consumer population, but 34% of those 50 and older. This demographic also has a higher annoyance rate (29% compared to 26% for all consumers) at being told their call is important, please remain on hold.

Mexicans, French Most Likely to Lose Temper

amex-customer-service-temper-may-2011.JPGConsumers in Mexico are most likely (86%) to say they have lost their temper with a customer service professional, followed by consumers in France (75%) and India (73%). The US has the third-lowest-rate of 56%, followed by the UK (51%) and the only country where less than half of customers have lost their temper, Germany (37%).

trendwatching.com: Sources Become Trusted

When developing their customer service strategies, brands also should be aware that as a result of social networking and other online communication technologies, consumers can now use trusted sources they know to obtain information about products and brands, rather than rely on third-party advertising or perform extensive first-hand research, according to analysis from trendwatching.com.

trendwatching.com advises that consumers have always relied on word-of-mouth advice from friends, relatives and associates, but modern technology is greatly accelerating its development as a major influencer of purchase decisions.

About the Data: The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer research was completed online among a random sample of 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 18 and up. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between February 2-10, 2011.

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