Australian consumers are willing to spend an average 12% more for excellent service, according to an American Express report, but 40% of consumers say Australian businesses miss the mark.
The American Express Global Consumer Service Barometer is an international study conducted across 10 countries, exploring public attitudes towards customer service.
In Australia, the survey was completed online among a random sample of consumers aged 18 and over. A total of 1,000 interviews were completed.
According to the barometer, businesses that deliver outstanding service stand to make more money, with seven in 10 Australians willing to spend an average 12% more for excellent service.
However, four in 10 consumers say Australian businesses fail to meet their expectations, placing Australia second only to France with regard to woeful service standards.
Alarmingly, the number of Australians who believe businesses don’t care about their customer is growing – from 10% to 13% year-on-year.
More than a third of consumers believe businesses are paying less attention to service, which saw Australia score the highest dissatisfaction ranking globally among the 10 countries surveyed.
This score is up 4% (from 32%) since the research began in 2010.
Lisa Vehrenkamp, managing director of American Express Australia, says the findings should serve as a wakeup call for Australian businesses, which are ultimately the ones missing out.
“Outstanding customer service can be the deciding factor in getting customers through the door,” Vehrenkamp says.
“The barometer found that two-thirds of consumers have abandoned a purchase because of a poor service experience in the past year.”
“[That] is why businesses need to focus on the quality of service they provide as much as the product for sale.”
The news comes on the back of a survey by the Australian Institute of Management Victoria & Tasmania, and Image Group International.
According to the survey, customer service and sales skills are considered the least important when building an individual’s personal brand.
“When will these companies learn customer service is the key? Action speaks louder than the language of spin,” said Jon Michail, chief executive of Image Group International.
According to sales strategy consultant Cian McLoughlin, businesses should seek feedback from their customers every six to 12 months.
“We are all in business to drive relationships with customers, secure sales and make money, and the best way to do that well is to seek feedback from your customers,” McLoughlin told StartupSmart.
“Think of it this way: seeking some feedback is the best way to get a return on investment, even when you lose a sale.”