1 2014 GLOBAL CUSTOMER SERVICE BAROMETER FINDINGS IN THE UNITED STATES
2 Research Methods This research was completed online among a random sample of consumers aged 18+. A total of 1,000 interviews were completed. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity between August 19 and September 2, The overall results have a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.
3 Companies still meeting consumers expectations for customer service experiences IN GENERAL, WOULD YOU SAY THE CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE WITH COMPANIES USUALLY? Meet your expectations Miss your expectations Exceed your expectations 5% 7% 6% 29% 31% 29% 26% 62% 59% 61% 65% Just over six in ten (62%) believe that companies meet their customer service expectations (59%, 2012; 61%, 2011). Down from 7% in 2012 and 6% in 2011, only 5% of consumers said that the customer service experiences they have with companies usually exceed their expectations and 29% said that companies usually miss their expectations for customer service (down from 31% in 2012 and the same as 29% in 2011). 7% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Q. 1 Not Shown: 4% or less Not Sure
4 More consumers think businesses are paying less attention to providing good customer service IN THIS CURRENT ECONOMY, DO YOU THINK THAT? Businesses pay less attention to providing good customer service Businesses have increased their focus on providing good customer service Businesses' attitudes towards customer service have not changed 26% 28% 26% 29% 29% 27% 32% 32% 32% 34% 38% 37% 0% 5% 10%15%20%25%30%35%40% Although expectations for customer service are being met, nearly two in five consumers believe that, in this current economy, businesses pay less attention to providing good customer service, a significant increase over the past two years (38% vs. 32% in 2012, 26% in 2011). The percent of consumers who believe businesses have increased their focus on providing good customer service has declined since last year (29% vs. 32% in 2012 and 2011). Q. 2 Significantly higher/lower than previous year at the 95% confidence level. Not Shown: 8% or less Not Sure
5 Motivation to pay more attention: consumers will spend more with companies that provide excellent service Willing to spend more (overall) Average additional % willing to spend Have spent more HOW MUCH MORE WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO SPEND WITH A COMPANY THAT YOU BELIEVE PROVIDES EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE? 14% 13% 13% 9% 68% 66% 70% 58% 74% 75% 73% 57% 0% 50% 100% % more 20% or more Not willing to spend more Don t know Three out of four (74%) consumers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences, similar to the past two years (75% in 2012; 73% in 2011). Over two thirds (68%) of consumers state that they are willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service; slightly higher than 2012 (66%) and nearing the seven in ten (70%) reported in On average they are willing to spend 14% more, slightly more than in the past two years (13% in 2012 and 2011). 5% more 5% 24% 18% 21% 17% 16% 15% 15% 14% 17% 15% 18% 17% 15% 17% 25% 29% 33% 34% 36% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Q.6/Q.7 Significantly higher/lower than previous year at the 95% confidence level.
6 Providing excellent service also helps companies attract new customers RANK THE FOLLOWING IN TERMS OF WHICH ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS WHEN YOU ARE CHOOSING A COMPANY WITH WHICH TO DO BUSINESS, WHERE 1 = MOST IMPORTANT AND 5 = LEAST IMPORTANT Rank: Good value for the price 51% 24% 13% 7% 5% Excellent customer service 20% 25% 25% 19% 11% Better products 18% 29% 24% 19% 10% Behind providing good value for the price (51%), providing excellent customer service is the second most important factor consumers consider when choosing a company with which to do business (20%), followed closely by providing better products (18%). Easy to do business online 6% 8% 14% 22% 50% Convenience 5% 14% 24% 32% 25% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Consumers are least likely to consider ease of doing business online (50%, least important) when choosing a company with which to do business. Q. 11
7 Delivering on promised value will help companies exceed consumers customer service expectations WHICH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING IS THE BEST WAY THAT A COMPANY CAN STAND OUT AND EXCEED YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE? Deliver to me the promised value at the right price Make it easy for me to do business with them online and off 22% 29% The best way that a company can stand out and exceed U.S. consumer expectations for customer service is simple deliver promised value at the right price (29%). Recognize me as an individual who deserves personalized service Provide products & services that meet my needs as a customer Make it easy for me to find information about their products & services 9% 21% 19% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Consumers are also looking for ease in doing business both online and off (22%). They want personalized service (21%) and products/services that meet their individual needs (19%). Q. 3
8 To consumers, excellent service means getting their questions answered by knowledgeable representatives HOW IMPORTANT ARE EACH OF THE FOLLOWING IN PROVIDING YOU WITH AN EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE? Very Important Somewhat Important Not too/not at all Important Provide a satisfactory answer to your question Connnect you with someone who is knowledgeable Thank you for being a customer Provide personalized service Follow up with you on your experience Address you by your name Try to sell you something 27% 21% 8% 7% 45% 45% 86% 78% 35% 41% 35% 85% 44% 13% 20% 20% 32% 44% 11% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 1% 2% In order to provide consumers with an excellent customer service experience, representatives must be able to provide a satisfactory answer to their question (86%) or be able to connect them with someone who is knowledgeable (78%). However, companies should not overlook providing personalized service (45%) and thanking customers for their business (45%). Q. 5
9 Successful customer service representatives are efficient and empowered to handle requests WHICH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTE OF A SUCCESSFUL CUSTOMER SERVICE PROFESSIONAL? Efficient - Answers my questions or handles my transaction quickly Empowered - Is able to handle my requests without transfers or escalations Courteous - Is polite and cordial in addressing me 17% 29% 33% According to consumers, the most important attribute of a successful customer service professional is efficiency the ability to answer questions or handle transactions quickly (33%). Human - Connects with me personally, shows empathy Consultative - Gives me relevant information about my product or experience 7% 14% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Consumers also find it important that a customer service professional is empowered to handle requests without transfers or escalations (29%). Q. 4
10 Consumers tell more people about their bad customer service experiences than their good experiences HOW OFTEN DO YOU TELL OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR GOOD EXPERIENCE? HOW OFTEN DO YOU TELL OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR POOR EXPERIENCE? All the time Sometimes Rarely Never Avg # of people they tell All the time Sometimes Rarely Never Avg # of people they tell % 47% 6% 1% % 35% 5% % 47% 4% 1% % 37% 5% 1% % 46% 4% 2% % 35% 4% 2% 16 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% More than nine in ten consumers talk about their good customer service experiences, at least some of the time (93%), while 46% tell someone about them all of the time, similar to the past two years (48% all the time in 2012 and 2011). When it comes to poor customer service experiences, nearly all (95%) consumers talk about them, with 60% reporting that they talk about these experiences all of the time. On average, consumers tell 8 people about their good experiences (15 in 2012; 9 in 2011), and over twice as many people about their bad experiences (21; 24 in 2012; 16 in 2011). Q.8/8a/9/9a Significantly higher/lower than previous year at the 95% confidence level.
11 Consumers make use of various communication channels to talk about customer service experiences HOW OFTEN DO YOU USE EACH OF THE FOLLOWING CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCES? All the time Sometimes Rarely Never Face-to-face Social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) 19% 54% 28% 18% 37% 5% 35% 4% Most frequently, consumers tell others about their customer service experiences face-to- Text message / SMS 14% 35% 19% 32% face (54%, all the time). Consumer review websites (Yelp, etc.) Company website Online chat / instant messaging Blog 13% 33% 21% 33% 12% 38% 22% 28% 11% 23% 21% 45% 6% 10% 14% 70% They also make use of company websites (50% always/sometimes), text messaging (49%), social networks and consumer review sites (46%, each). 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Q. 10
12 Positive word-of-mouth is most likely to influence consumers to try a new company WHICH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING IS MOST LIKELY TO GET YOU TO TRY DOING BUSINESS WITH A NEW COMPANY? Recommendations from a friend or family member A sale or promotion A company's reputation An online or social media review An interesting advertisement 3% 5% 15% 34% 42% Companies should take note that recommendations from friends and family is most likely to get consumers to try doing business with a new company (42%). Consumers report that positive word-ofmouth is even more important than a sale or promotion (34%). An engaging website 2% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% Q. 12
13 Poor service can lead to lost sales IN THE PAST YEAR, HAVE YOU INTENDED TO CONDUCT A BUSINESS TRANSACTION OR MAKE A PURCHASE BUT DECIDED NOT TO BASED ON A POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE? 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% No, 40% No, 45% In the past year, six-in-ten (60%) consumers intended to conduct a business transaction or make a purchase, but decided not to due to a poor service experience a significant increase from 2012 (55%). 30% 20% 10% Yes, 60% Yes, 55% 0% Q.N13 Q.18 Significantly higher/lower than previous year at the 95% confidence level.
14 Consumers are generally willing to give companies a chance to make up for a bad service experience HOW MANY INSTANCES OF POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE ARE YOU WILLING TO EXPERIENCE FROM A COMPANY BEFORE YOU WILL CONSIDER SWITCHING COMPANIES? 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Immediately consider switching after initial poor customer service experience 2-3 instances of poor customer service 4-5 instances of poor customer service 6 or more instances of poor customer service 1% 4% 37% 58% While most consumers are willing to give a company at least one more chance after receiving poor service before they consider switching, over one-third (37%) immediately consider switching after the initial poor customer service experience. Q. 19
15 Consumers preferred channel for customer service inquiries varies depending on the complexity of the inquiry Company website or Speaking with a real person on the phone Telephone automated voice response system Online chat/instant messaging Smartphone app* Face to face Text message Social networking site FOR EACH OF THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF CUSTOMER SERVICE INQUIRIES, WHICH IS YOUR PREFERRED CHANNEL FOR REACHING OUT TO COMPANIES? A simple inquiry A more complex inquiry A difficult inquiry 14% 16% 12% 12% 9% 9% 9% 9% 11% 6% 7% 5% 7% 36% 38% 0% 20% 40% 5% 6% 12% 10% 3% 5% 5% 4% 4% 3% 2% 4% 3% 3% 10% 9% 24% 30% 0% 20% 40% For simple issues, they prefer going online, but for anything more complicated they want to talk to a real person. The desire to deal with customer service reps face-to-face for any type of inquiry has decreased significantly since For simple inquiries, such as locating a product or checking an account balance, over one-third (36%) of consumers prefer using a company website or . For a more complex inquiry, such as returning a product or getting assistance with a product issue, just under two out of five (37%) consumers prefer speaking with a real person on the phone, followed by a face to face conversation (19%, down significantly from 24% in 2012), and using a company website or (17%). For even more difficult or complicated inquiries, almost half of consumers (48%) prefer speaking with a real person on the phone, 24% prefer a face to face interaction (down significantly from 30% in 2012), and only 10% prefer a company website or . Q. 13a/b/c Significantly higher/lower than previous year at the 95% confidence level *Note: smartphone app not asked in % 3% 4% 3% 17% 15% 19% 24% 37% 38% 0% 20% 40% 48% 46%
16 Social media is becoming a more common channel for consumers seeking a customer service response IN THE PAST YEAR, HAVE YOU UTILIZED SOCIAL MEDIA TO GET A CUSTOMER SERVICE RESPONSE? WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING ARE REASONS YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA WHEN IT COMES TO CUSTOMER SERVICE? 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% No, 77% No, 83% Yes, 23% Yes, 17% Praise a company for a great service experience Vent frustration with a bad customer service experience Share information about your service experience with a broader audience Seek a response from a company to help you with a service issue Seek rec. from others about great service establishments Praise an individual for providing a great service experience Ask questions of other users about how to get better service 53% 48% 50% 46% 46% 47% 40% 50% 36% 35% % 33% % 43% 0% 20% 40% 60% Over one in five (23%) consumers say they have utilized social media to get a customer service response, a significant increase from 17% in For those who have used social media for customer service, they have done so for a variety of reasons, including praising a company for a great service experience (53%) and venting frustration with a bad customer service experience (50%). Compared to 2012, significantly fewer use social media to seek an actual response from a company to help them with a service issue (40% vs. 50% in 2012). Q.14/Q.15 Significantly higher/lower than previous year at the 95% confidence level Not Shown: 8% or less None of these
17 Resolution of customer service issues via social media may be hit or miss, but consumers still see improvement WHEN YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO COMPLAIN ABOUT A CUSTOMER SERVICE ISSUE, HOW OFTEN DO YOU FEEL YOU GET AN ANSWER OR YOUR COMPLAINT IS RESOLVED BY THE COMPANY? IN THE PAST YEAR, HAVE COMPANIES GENERALLY IMPROVED OR WORSENED IN TERMS OF HOW QUICKLY YOU FEEL THEY RESPOND TO YOU OVER SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS SURROUNDING A GENERAL INQUIRY OR COMPLAINT? 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 21% 31% 44% 45% 22% 17% 13% Always Sometimes Rarely Never 6% One in five (21%) consumers who have used social media for customer service inquiries say they always get an answer or have their complaint resolved, significantly lower than 2012 (31%, always). Greater than one-third (35%), however, say they rarely or never get an answer or have their complaint resolved up from 23% in Despite this spotty record, over half of consumers (55%) still feel companies have generally improved their response times over social media channels (down from 60% in 2012). 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 55% 60% 37% 33% 8% 7% Improved Have not changed Worsened Q.16/Q.17 Significantly higher/lower than previous year at the 95% confidence level
18 Consumers are generally patient when it comes to their willingness to wait for customer service WHEN YOU CONTACT A CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER BY PHONE, WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF TIME YOU ARE WILLING TO WAIT ON HOLD? WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF TIME YOU ARE WILLING TO WAIT FOR HELP FROM CUSTOMER SERVICE IN-PERSON (EX., AT A BANK, RETAIL STORE, SERVICE PROVIDER OR RESTAURANT? Less than 5 min 5 min >10 min 22% 19% 27% 28% Average 2014 = 13 min 2012 = 13 min Less than 5 min 5 min >10 min 16% 19% 28% 29% Average 2014 = 13 min 2012 = 12 min 10 min >15 min 15 min >30 min 22% 21% 17% 21% min >15 min 15 min >30 min 24% 23% 20% 21% 30+ min 12% 12% 30+ min 12% 8% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% On average, consumers are willing to wait a maximum of 13 minutes on hold when they contact a customer service center by telephone (unchanged from 2012). Greater than one in five (22%) are willing to wait less than 5 minutes. In person, consumers are also willing to wait an average of 13 minutes for customer service help (up slightly from 12 minutes in 2012). Q.20/21
19 JENNIFER CLARK T: F: E: EBIQUITY US Office 156 Fifth Avenue, Suite 604 New York, NY Disclaimer This document is confidential to American Express. Disclosure or circulation of this document, or any part of it, may only be made to American Express, its employees who need to have knowledge of this matter and to its nominated agency (if applicable). Unauthorized copying, disclosure or circulation of this document (by any company or individual) represents a breach of copyright and confidentiality. By accepting disclosure of this document you agree to these terms and to indemnify Ebiquity if you breach any of these terms.
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