Australian consumers have some of the lowest customer service expectations in the world, new research shows, although they are also more likely to share their experiences with others.
The research, detailed in the latest American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, is based on a survey of 1,000 consumers aged 18 and over.
Not surprisingly, 80% of the consumers surveyed agree small, independently or locally-owned businesses “provide a more personal customer service experience”, while 37% strongly agree.
More than three quarters feel small businesses “understand their customer better” than large companies, while a third strongly agree.
Meanwhile, 72% of consumers feel small businesses “know their business/product better”, with three in 10 strongly agreeing.
When comparing a small business and a large company – which both provide excellent customer service – 41% of consumers are willing to spend more with the former than the latter.
Less than 10% are willing to spend more with a large company over a small business, while 50% state there is “no difference in their willingness to spend more for excellent customer service”.
Hospitality and casual dining rank highest in most areas of customer service, the report reveals.
Most consumers agree they have a history of spending more with a retail company than a hospitality business because of a history of positive customer service experiences.
However, the report shows Australians have some of the lowest expectations of customer service in the world, suggesting all businesses need to lift their game.
When it comes to waiting on the phone for service, Australians are prepared to wait, on average, 14 minutes before hanging up, putting Australia in third place behind India and Mexico.
But compared to last year, consumers tell significantly more people on average about their customer service experiences, both good and bad.
On average, consumers tell 15 people about their good experiences (up from nine in 2011) and 24 people about their bad experiences (up from 16 in 2011).
Nearly half of consumers tell someone about their good customer experiences all of the time. But when it comes to bad experiences, more than half (56%) talk to people about them all the time.
However, fewer than one in five say they have utilised social media at least once to get a customer service response in the past year.
For those who have used social media for customer service in the past year, 50% have done so in order to receive “an actual response from a company to help them with a service issue”.
Other reasons include “praising a company for a great service experience”, “sharing information about their service experience with a broader audience” and “venting frustration with a bad customer service experience”.