LONDON: John Lewis, Amazon and Marks & Spencer are the companies regarded as providing the best customer service by UK consumers, and could yield significant pricing benefits as a result.

Cognito, the workforce performance management specialist, and YouGov, the survey firm, polled 2,084 adults, some 9% of which named John Lewis, the department store chain, as the number one player in this area.

Amazon, the online pioneer, and Marks & Spencer, the high-street retailer, both recorded 5%, and thus shared second place.

These operators were followed in the rankings by Tesco, the supermarket giant, on 4%, and Virgin, the airline-to-media group, on 3%, the same score as Asda, also a supermarket chain.

When asked which types of service experiences they discussed with others, an 82% majority of the sample generally spoke about disappointing company performance, as did 55% for positive news.

“Investment in customer service has a huge impact on an organisation's revenues and brand perception," said Jonathan Chevallier, strategic development director at Cognito.

"Marketing investment without a real eye on delivery and front line service is wasted, with consumers deciding for themselves which brands they can rely on to deliver. Moreover, they are willing to spend more in a recession, which is something all companies can learn from."

Elsewhere, the analysis revealed 53% of contributors would make additional purchases with companies that provided a superior experience.

Another 59% of respondents expressed a willingness to pay a premium for offerings if they could expect to receive excellent service. On average, shoppers considered a 2.9% excess reasonable in such cases.

For products priced at £50, exactly 20% of participants would spend between 1% and 4% more. A further 10% of the panel put this amount in the 5% to 9% range, and almost 10% were likely to meet a double-digit premium.

On offerings worth £100, a 26% share of those questioned would find an additional 1% to 4% if it meant better treatment, whereas 12% pegged this at between 5% and 9% extra, and 6% placed this figure at 10% or more.

Data sourced from Cognito; additional content by Warc staff