22 Mar 2017 15:39 IST

For Indians, customer service is the top factor in choosing a company

First time, service quality has trumped product value, finds American Express survey

Putting customers’ needs first by providing great service is not just the right thing to do, it also makes great business sense.

This is going by the survey findings of the latest American Express 2017 Global Customer Service Barometer, which was conducted across nine countries, including India, in January this year.

This survey — conducted on consumers across industry segments — showed that 84 per cent of Indian consumers rate the quality of customer service as very important when deciding to become or remain a customer.

Willing to spend more

This can also be observed from the willingness of 86 per cent of Indians to spend more with a company providing an excellent customer service experience, much ahead of the US (70 per cent), the UK (59 per cent), Singapore (72 per cent) and Japan (33 per cent).

“This is the first year that Indians have rated customer service quality as the topmost factor while choosing a business. This is also the first year when customer service quality has trumped product value proposition.

“That’s saying a lot because normally most companies focus on the product whether it is the car or the telephone and they think of service at the second place,” Pradeep Kapur, Senior Vice-President, American Express Global Services Network—Japan and Asia Pacific, told BusinessLine.

The nine countries where this survey was conducted are: India, the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

From India, this survey had 1,000 respondents. Kapur also said that happy customers today are far more willing to share their positive experiences with their social network and are also willing to spend more.

“In fact, we have observed this trend with our card members who spend three to four times the industry average,” he said.

Domino effect

Kapur said that excellent customer service has a domino effect.

“Happy customers are your most powerful ambassadors. Go the extra mile to make a positive impression, as these are more powerful than negative ones,” he said.

On average, 96 per cent of Indians tell 38 people about their good experiences at least sometimes, but 83 per cent are vocal about their bad experiences, telling an average of 31 people.

Indians are way ahead of their market counterparts when it comes to sharing their good customer experiences on social media.

Indian consumers post more positive customer services experiences on social media than negative experiences.