American Express 2012 Global Customer Service BarometerAmerican Express conducted a Global Study called the 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer.

The Global Customer Service Barometer Study  is conducted in 11 countries and explores public attitudes towards customer service.  Studies are done in the US, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, and India. About 1000 consumers who are at least 18 years old or older are polled at random per country.

Key Findings in the US:

1. One third of US consumers think businesses are paying less attention to providing good customer service in 2012.  That’s 6% more than what US customers thought in 2011. In Canada, the figure is similar to the US at 32% but the dissatisfaction increased by 8% since 2011 in Canada.

2. 75% of  US consumers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences.

3. Consumers tell significantly more people on average about their customer service experiences, both good and bad. On average, they tell 15 people about their good experiences, and 24 people about their bad experiences.

4. 47% of consumers tell someone about their good customer service experiences. This is counter intuitive. Most people think that consumers only complain. This shows that consumers are almost as likely to share their positive encounters.

5. 56% of consumers talk to people about the bad customer service experiences.

6. 35% of consumers have lost their temper with a customer service professional.

6a. Of those who lost their temper, 71% asked to speak to a supervisor.

6b.  36% of US Consumers hung up the phone.

6c. 24% talked about their experience via social media.

6d. 15% stormed out of a store.

7. 33% of consumers would switch brands  or companies based on a rude or unresponsive customer service representative.

8. 24% of US customers would switch brands or companies because they are passed from one service representative to another without fixing their issue.

9. Social media is not a common channel for consumers seeking a customer service response. Only 17% of consumers use it. But when this small number do use social media the impact is significant.

US Amex Study shows impact of social media use

10. On average, 55% of consumers have intended to conduct a business transaction or make a purchase, but decided not to based on a poor service experience.


Customer service is clearly one of the key influences of customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty. Yet many companies are not providing satisfactory levels of customer service.

Social media hasn’t caught on with the masses YET, but if and when it does, it’s impact will be significant.

Other Reference Material.

Canadian results for the Global Survey are summarized in an article in the Toronto Star called ‘We’re fed up with bad service’. Look for other country results on Google.

See also Social Media Raises the Stakes for Customer Service.


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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