New digital services and technologies are having a profound impact on the mindset of Canadian consumers, who now have higher expectations than ever before when it comes to customer service. Although most (71%) believe companies are stepping up their game to meet expectations, few are really making an impression. According to the latest American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, only five per cent of consumers believe companies go above and beyond to actually exceed their expectations.
“Seven in ten consumers believe their service expectations are met, but where’s the magic?” said Aileen Kheraj, Vice President, Member Engagement, American Express Canada. “Canadian companies have a tremendous opportunity to really stand out through service, and those who hold the bar higher will see more engaged and loyal customers.”
In fact, over six in ten (64%) have spent more with a company because of good service, and over forty per cent (43%) have left a positive comment or review about a company’s service on social media.
“There’s no denying it, the demands of Canadian consumers are changing rapidly, and it will be up to businesses to ensure their customer service reaches the all-time high expectations of Canadians.”
Speed and personalization prevail
Customer demands are evolving. Modern consumers, especially millennials, aren’t willing to wait for good service. They want it their way, and they want it quickly. Over half of today’s anytime, anywhere consumers (58 per cent) prefer to use mobile or digital channels for simple customer service inquiries, further demonstrating their need for speed.
Today’s customers also want to be recognized as individuals. According to the study, 87 per cent of Canadians ranked personalized service as “important” to providing an excellent customer service experience; of those, 40 per cent said it was “very important.”
“Consumers are now willing to share personal information broadly and are increasingly empowered by technology, which is causing Canadians to demand more convenient and personalized service from the brands they frequent,” said Kheraj.
“Businesses now have access to an unprecedented amount of data. If you’re asking customers to divulge personal information, it’s important to offer them something in return by leveraging it to create an enhanced and more personalized service experience. Omni-channel shopping, personal recommendations, alerts and tailored rewards have become expected.”
Unforgiving consumers don’t shy from shifting loyalty
When their expectations are not met, Canadians don’t hesitate to spend elsewhere. In fact, nearly a third (32%) will consider switching companies after just one poor service experience, and just under half (46%) have not completed an intended purchase or transaction due to poor service.
In addition, Canadians are not shy about letting their displeasure be known. Nearly half (49%) of Canadians say they always tell other people about a negative service experience, compared to 38 per cent who always tell others about a positive one. Nearly a third (32%) have posted a negative comment or review about a company’s service on social media.
Indeed, the modern consumer is challenging brands to exceed their expectations rather than settle for good enough. This presents an incredible opportunity for brands to step up and evolve with their customers.