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Indians Far Ahead of Their Global Counterparts in Social Media Usefor Customer Service [Report]

Jubin Mehta
3rd May 2012
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American Express

Indians twice likely to use social media to get a customer service response as compared to the average of other marketsAn American Express survey coughed up some very interesting results. 54% have used social media at least once in the past year to get a customer service response, more than twice the average 20% of consumers in other markets, as per the findings of the American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer released today.

According to the survey, Indian’s Top 5 customer service activities on social media include:

  • Sharing information about service experience with a wider audience – 50%
  • Asking other users how to get better service – 46%
  • Seeking recommendations from others about good service providers – 41%
  • Praising a company for a great service experience – 40%
  • Seeking an actual response from a company about a service issue – 39%

Today’s networked consumers are demanding engagement, personalization, and prompt response from the companies they deal with across multiple channels. They also wield a lot of influence because they spend more for great service and share their opinions widely. Ultimately, these consumers can help influence improvements to service quality,” Mr. Pradeep Kapur, Sr VP, World Service India & Process Excellence, American Express, said.

Key highlights from Survey

  • 54% Indians have used social media to get a customer service response at least once in the past year as compared to an average of 20% in other markets
  • More Indians talk about their good/bad experience than their global counterparts. On an average Indians talk to 44 people about good customer service experiences and to 46 people about their bad experiences
  • 87% Indians are willing to spend more for better service – willing to spend an average of 22% more; 74% say they have spent more in the past year.
  •  25% Indians prefer addressing complex queries to a ‘real person on the phone’, as compared to an average of nearly 37% in other markets
  • 64% Indians lose their temper with a customer service professional in the past year, far higher in comparison to an average of 48% in other market

Spreading the Word

Social media is not the only way people are spreading the word about their customer service experiences. Consumers overall will tell significantly more people about their customer service experiences compared to last year and other countries, highlighting the importance of every interaction for businesses aiming to build customer loyalty and a positive image.

The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer survey revealed that compared to last year, consumers tell significantly more people on average about their customer service experiences, both good and bad. On average, they tell 44 people about their good experiences (up from 32 in 2011), and 46 people about their bad experiences (up from 35 in 2011).

“When customers know that a company is listening to them and addressing their needs quickly and responsively, they will not only spend more – they will spread the word to others as well. Great customer service is great business and positions a brand with staying power,” Mr. Kapur added.

Customers willing to pay more

87% people are willing to spend more for better service – willing to spend an average of 22% more; 74% say they have spent more in the past year. In addition, 80% of consumers surveyed feel Small Businesses provide a more personal customer service experience than large companies.

Channel of Choice

For a complex query (such as returning a product or getting assistance with a product issue), people gravitate to a 'real person on the phone'. Specifically, 25% of Indians prefer addressing complex queries to a ‘real person’ which is low when compared to the average of nearly 37% in other markets. Moreover, Indians expressed their preference for using a diverse range of channels when addressing complex queries including automated voice response systems (12%) and Social Networking sites (10%) - nearly twice the number of their counterparts (other markets: average of 6% prefer automated systems; 5% prefer social networking sites).

Temper Tantrums

Indians are not shy about losing their temper with a customer service professional with 64% doing so in the past year, which is a far higher in comparison to the other markets with an average of 48%. Among respondents who lost their temper:

  • 12% Indians use profanities (average 7% in other markets)
  • 61% insisted on speaking to a supervisor (average of 49% in other markets)
  • 18% stormed out of the store (average 15% in other markets)

The Boiling Point

How long are Indians willing to wait for customer service before slamming down the receiver? The average consumer in India is more patient than their counterparts in other markets surveyed when they want to contact a customer service center by telephone. Respondents hit his or her boiling point after 16 minutes on hold, higher than other markets (Mexico – 15 minutes, Canada and Australia 14 minutes each, Germany and Netherlands 7 minutes each and Japan – 6 minutes).

  • Although more than two third respondents (69%) feel companies have improved hold times by telephone over the past year, 9% believe businesses have gotten worse.
  • However, when it comes to customer wait time in-person, Indians will wait an average of 17 minutes for help at establishments such as banks, retail stores or restaurants, which is higher than all other markets surveyed.
  • More than two thirds respondents (68%) feel companies have generally improved in-person wait times, but 24% feel they have not changed over the past year.

Top Customer Service Gripes

When asked about their top customer service irritants that would lead them to switch brand or companies in 2012, eight in ten (73%) Indians cited one of these ‘Big Four Gripes’:

  • Waiting Game: Waiting too long to have an issue resolved – 22%
  • Rudeness: An insensitive or unresponsive customer service representative – 20%
  • Passing the Buck: Being shuffled around with no resolution of the issue – 17%
  • The Chase: Forced to continually follow up on an issue – 14%

Here's another interesting report about the Global Handset Sales Forecast.

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