NEW YORK: The quality of customer service offered by US brands on social media strongly influences buying habits, research from American Express has suggested.

A new report from the company indicates that the average person using social media to get some kind of customer service is subsequently willing to spend +21% extra on a brand if the service is "excellent".

But this premium drops to +11% among those who had an excellent experience outside of the networks.

This behavioural gap can also be seen among those consumers offered poor customer service. American Express found that 83% of social media customer service users have walked away from a purchase in the past year after a bad experience in this area, compared to just 49% of non-users.

Jim Bush, executive vice president at the company's World Service unit, said: "Ultimately, getting service right with these social media savvy consumers can help a business grow.

"Delivering outstanding service creates impassioned advocates and can serve as a powerful marketing weapon for companies."

Separate findings from the American Express report also illustrated the potential for spreading positive word-of-mouth via online social networks.

In all, the typical social media customer service user will tell 42 others about a good experience, and 53 about a bad experience. These totals drop to nine and 17 respectively among non-users.

Sharing of customer service stories is also on the rise among the general population, with the typical American telling 15 people about positive interactions. When American Express conducted the same poll last year, this total reached just nine people.

At the same time, concerns over the quality of customer service are also on the rise, with almost a third (32%) of respondents saying they believe brands are not prioritising service in the same way as they used to. Last year, just 26% said the same.

Rudeness of staff was also the most common customer service "gripe" among consumers, cited by 33% of those polled. The feeling that brand representatives were "passing the buck" was second on 26%.

Data sourced from American Express; additional content by Warc staff