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70 Percent of Consumers Will Pay More for Positive Experience

In spite of the recession, consumers will pay a higher price for better customer service. More than 70 percent of consumer said they would be willing to spend an additional 10 percent or more if a company exceeded their expectations, per a Strativity Group study released this week.

A third of the 2,000 North Americans, polled between April 13 and May 4, 2009, were willing to pay 25 percent or more for exceptional customer service.

Satisfied customers were three times more likely to repeat their business for at least another 10 years. Those who had a negative experience were 10 times more likely to cease doing business with the company within 12 months.

The top drivers contributing to customer experience were centered on employee interaction. Resolving problems effectively, exhibiting common sense and instances where employees exceeded expectations topped the list.

"The initial assumption that we had was that customer loyalty is dead, that the only loyalty is to price," said Strativity CEO Lior Arussy. "But it's not only about price sensitivity. The verdict from the consumers is very clear: if we see an exceptional customer experience, we'll pay more for it, we'll stay longer, and we're going to give you more business."

That's not to say jilted customers can't be lured back. A little more than half (52 percent) of respondents said they'd only be willing to continue their business if a discount of 5 percent or more was offered.