Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Show me the service: Canadians


March 4, 2008
By Canadian Pizza

When asked what is the best way for companies to express
appreciation for their business, three out of four (74 per cent)
Canadian consumers say, “Just show me good service.” This preference
far outranks any other form of thanks, including a gift (13 per cent)
or a donation on their behalf to a charity (seven per cent).

When asked what is the best way for companies to express appreciation for their business, three out of four (74 per cent) Canadian consumers say, “Just show me good service.” This preference far outranks any other form of thanks, including a gift (13 per cent) or a donation on their behalf to a charity (seven per cent).

And convenient hours of operation are highly prized by Canadians, with 97 per cent of respondents agreeing that these are important to them.

These are some of the findings of the TD Bank Financial Group Customer Loyalty Poll conducted by Ipsos Reid. The online omnibus poll, which explores perceptions on customer service and customer loyalty, was conducted between April 13 and April 17, 2007, among 1,000 adults aged 18 and older across Canada. Results based on a sample size of 1,000 are considered accurate to within ± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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The survey confirms some well-established tenets of customer service. For example, a strong majority (84 per cent) of Canadians agree that one experience can make or break their relationship with a particular brand or company. As well, more than nine-in-ten (94 per cent) say they have shared their stories for both good and bad customer service with friends and family, and eight-in-ten claim that their customer service stories have influenced the purchasing habits of others.

The “word-of-mouth” method of expressing discontent is used more than formal complaint channels – six-in-ten say they have complained in writing to at least one company about bad service.

Overall, Canada gets high marks for customer service when compared to other countries. More than three-quarters of Canadians (77 per cent) say Canada is the best place for service from any type of company. The United States is a distant runner-up at eight per cent, and everywhere else scores four per cent or less.

However, when asked about the last time they received great service, only 62 per cent of Canadians say it was within the past month. On a regional basis, Manitoba/Saskatchewan (71 per cent) and B.C. (70 per cent) are virtually tied in having the most people who had great service in the past month.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Quebecers (54 per cent) and Albertans (53 per cent) are the least likely to say they received great service within the past month. Indeed, 14 per cent of Albertans claim it has been more than a year since they experienced great service, and one-in-ten Quebecers say they have never received great service from a company.

“At first glance, the 62 per cent finding for all Canadians doesn’t seem that remarkable one way or the other,” continues Hockey.  “But then you realize that, sadly, almost four out of 10 Canadians polled haven’t had a great customer experience in at least a month. Canadian companies may have ranked higher than other countries on service, but that doesn’t mean we can be complacent. The numbers tell us that as front-line service providers we have to continually improve the customer experience for Canadians.”

The poll found a number of strong regional differences in perceptions of customer service:

When asked which service attributes are the most important to them, Quebecers are most likely to choose respect, of those Atlantic Canadians polled, the highest percentage prefer friendliness, and the rest of Canada prefers “knowledgeable.”

Don’t mess with Atlantic Canadians and Albertans.  At 97 per cent and 96 per cent respectively, they are the most likely to share service stories – good or bad – with friends and relatives.

British Columbia and Ontario residents are most likely to write a complaint letter (64 per cent and 63 per cent respectively); Albertans the least likely (47 per cent).

Atlantic Canadians like customer loyalty programs, with virtually all (98 per cent) indicating they belong to at least one program.  Canadians on the whole are a nation of joiners, with 90 per cent belonging to at least one loyalty program.