Customer Experience Limbo – How low can it go?

Dive in – the data is fine!  If you want to get a quick pulse on the state of service experiences globally, look no farther than the recently published American Express Global Customer Service Barometer. Beyond painting a woeful picture of tragically dissatisfying service levels, the American Express study shows that much service deteriorates to a point that it is anger producing.  In fact, more than 1 in 3 customers admitted to “losing their temper” with service providers in the past year.  One out of 3 customers actually lost their temper with someone who was suppose to be helping them.  WOW!

Jim Bush, Executive Vice President, World Service, at American Express summarizes the overall results of the survey well when he notes, delivering outstanding service creates impassioned advocates and can serve as a powerful marketing weapon for companies…”   For many businesses that weapon is pointed squarely back at the business.

Social media consumers are particularly sensitive to service levels according to findings from the American Express survey.  In fact the researchers conclude, “people who have used social media for customer service at least once in the last year are willing to spend substantially more with companies they believe provide great service. They are also far more vocal about service experiences, both good and bad.  In addition, more than 80% of these consumers say they’ve bailed on a purchase because of a poor service experience, compared to 55% overall.”  Does this mean people who talk about you online are more willing to forgo doing business with you if your service experience is lacking than their non social media counterparts?

The intersection between social media use and consumer behavior is also interesting from the perspective of the top 5 service -related activities in which American customers engage:

  • “50% Seek an actual response from a company about a service
  • 48%  Praise a company for a great service experience
  • 47%  Share information about your service experience with a wider audience
  • 46%  Vent frustration about a poor service experience
  • 43%  Ask other users how to have better service experiences”

Rather than being discouraged by these results, I am thrilled that so much service is so bad!  Ok, maybe not thrilled but at least appreciative that these pervasiveness negative customer experience are setting a low and attainable bar for achieving greater customer engagement, loyalty, spend and advocacy for those who us committed to executing a customer experience based business strategy.

How low can customer experience go and how willing are you to raise the bar?

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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