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Shoppers would spend more for good customer service, survey finds

Good customer service sells, according to a new study conducted by American Express.

American Express' Global Customer Service Barometer discovered that 7-out-of-10 Americans are willing to pay an average of 13% more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service, compared with 58% of Americans who echoed this sentiment in 2010. But while Americans put a heavy emphasis on good customer service, most (60%) believed that companies haven't stepped up their game to improve their focus on providing good customer service. Among them, 26% believed that companies are paying less attention to their customer service.

What's more, nearly 8-out-of-10 consumers (78%) said they will bail on a transaction or opt not to make an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. American Express also noted that 2-in-5 (42%) consumers said companies are helpful but don't do anything extra to keep their business, while 1-in-5 (22%) thought companies take their business for granted.

However, 3-in-5 Americans (59%) that have a better service experience said they would try a new brand or company.

For adult shoppers seeking a company that puts a great emphasis on customer service, 81% of respondents said that small businesses are the way to go.

"Getting service right is more than just a nice-to-do; it's a must-do," said Jim Bush, American Express EVP world service. "American consumers are willing to spend more with companies that provide outstanding service, and they will also tell, on average, twice as many people about bad service than they [will] about good service. Ultimately, great service can drive sales and customer loyalty."

The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer research was completed online among a random sample of 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 18 years and older.

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