In Focus
RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singaporean customers amongst the world's most demanding

2 in 3 will not complete buying due to poor service.

When it comes to customer service, Singapore is one of the most demanding globally, a study by American Express found out.

According to the American Express 2017 Global Customer Service Barometer, two out of three Singaporeans have not completed a purchase because of poor customer service. This makes the city-state amongst the most demanding together with Mexico.

More so, American Express Singapore Country Manager Cheng Heng Chew said the study revealed that the breaking point for two-thirds of Singaporeans is two or more bad experiences before they take their businesses elsewhere and one-third will switch companies immediately.

"Companies that give customers poor experience have lost sales. However, businesses that get it right in terms of service will be rewarded and customers tell us they’ll spend an average of 16% more when they receive excellent service,” Cheng noted.

In addition, good customer service plays a significant part in consumers’ buying decisions. Six out of 10 customers rank service as the second most important factor when considering to do business with a company. Their top concern is still value for money at 72%.

Around 73% of consumers said businesses have at least met their expectations and 4% said their expectations were exceeded. This presents an opportunity for businesses to step up as excellent customer service lead to a significant increase in consumer desire to spend more.

Interestingly, Singapore ranks third out of the nine countries surveyed where customers are willing to spend more with companies that provide excellent service, behind India and the U.S. 72% are willing to spend an average of 16% more because of excellent customer service.

Here's more from the study:

Focus on speed, empathy and education
41% of consumers would like their needs to be taken care of more quickly in the next five years. The next two priorities are to train representatives to make a personalised connection (20%) and make them aware of helpful benefits and services (20%).

Shorten wait times
On average, the maximum time consumers are willing to wait is 11 minutes on the phone and 15 minutes in person, so it is important to strive for efficiency at every touch point.

Ensure service professionals are efficient, empowered and empathetic
The most important attributes of a successful customer service professional are to be:

  • Efficient – answer questions, handle transactions quickly (32%)
  • Empowered – able to handle requests without transfers (20%)
  • Empathetic – connect with customers personally (18%)


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