In the dynamic economic environment in India, businesses should focus on not just providing a good value for money product, but an equally excellent customer service experience to attract and retain customers. According to the findings of the American Express® 2017 Global Customer Service Barometer released today, 84 percent Indian consumers say the quality of customer service is very important when they’re deciding to become or remain a customer.
This significance of customer experience can also be observed from the willingness of 86 percent of Indians to spend more with a company providing excellent customer service experience; much ahead of United States (70 percent), UK (59 percent), Singapore (72 percent) and Japan (33 percent).In addition, Indian customers talk much more about their positive experience (59 percent), compared to their counterparts in any other country Mexico (43 percent), United States (43 percent), Hong Kong (19 percent) and Canada (38 percent).
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“Companies across the country pay a lot of emphasis on product value proposition but it is time for them to give an equal or more importance to customer service for a real competitive advantage. Putting customers’ needs first to deliver great service experience is not just the right thing to do, it also makes great business sense,” said senior vice president, American Express Global Servicing Network – Japan and Asia Pacific, Pradeep Kapur.
“At American Express, our stated vision is to be the world’s most respected service brand. Happy customers today are far more willing to share their positive experiences with their social network and are also willing to spend more,” added Kapur. The American Express® 2017 Global Customer Service Barometer survey has been conducted across nine countries including India, United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore.
The survey also reveals:
Happy customers are brand ambassadors
On average, 96 percent of Indians tell 38 people about their good experiences at least sometimes, but 83 percent are vocal about their bad experiences, telling an average of 31 people. Indians are way ahead than their market counterparts when it comes to sharing their good customer service experience on social media.
Indian consumers post more positive customer services experiences on social media than negative experiences (73 percent vs. 47 percent). Not only have they used social media for sharing their feedback, 64 percent of Indians have also used the social channel for availing customer care services, yet again the highest compared to Mexico (59 percent), United States (35 percent), Hong Kong (47 percent) and Japan (19 percent). On the other hand, 63 percent of Indians chose not to complete a business transaction or make a purchase because of poor customer service; second highest amongst markets.
“Customer care is a real competitive differentiator. Because of the growing importance of word of mouth about consumers’ interactions with companies, creating an excellent service experience can be a game changer. Happy customers are likely to be brand ambassadors who will positively influence everyone around them,” added Kapur.
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Defining a great service experience
Insights clearly highlight the positive impact a great service experience can have on brands. But what are the key ingredients which constitute that experience? For many Indians, their recent positive customer experience was because the representative was pleasant to speak to (57 percent) and knowledgeable (55 percent). For a successful Customer Care Professional, efficiency (36 percent) and consultative approach to providing resolution (19 percent) emerge as the most important attributes.
At the same time, what irks them the most in negative service interactions is the time it took to resolve their query (49 percent) and the inability of the representative to answer their questions (32 percent). Indians appreciate when a service professional suggests an additional service or upgrade (76 percent) based on their stated needs or history of the Company – leading amongst their counterparts in Hong Kong (60 percent), Singapore (56 percent), United States (43 percent) and Japan (45 percent).
Flexibility to choose the medium
Consumers in India (30 percent) are more open to using messaging tools (live chat, SMS etc.) than their market counterparts like Hong Kong and Italy (26 percent each) and Mexico (25 percent). Less than one in four consumers in all other markets would prefer contact via messaging. Indians (39 percent) are also more open to using self-service tools (apps, kiosks, voice assisted etc.) than all other markets, however there is still a strong preference to speak with a real person (44 percent). In an automated voice system, the biggest frustration which might cause Indians to hang up or opt out is ‘too many steps or questions’ (59 percent).
“Each customer is unique and we need to ensure we are taking their needs into account while creating platforms for them to reach out to in their channel of choice. According to our study, it is imperative to factor consumer needs and provide a consistent quality of engagement irrespective of the platform,” added Kapur.