Despite Brexit price rises, shoppers will still spend more on great service, survey finds

The proportion of people expecting to rein in spending post-Brexit has tripled compared to just six months ago

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The Independent Online

UK consumers would pay an average of 17 per cent more for great customer service, despite rising prices caused by the Brexit-hit pound, according to new research.

That would amount to an extra £14bn additional income per year for the UK's supermarkets, based on the most recent official figures, the Institute of Customer Service found.

The proportion of people expecting to rein in their overall spending post-Brexit has tripled compared to just six months ago, according to the research. Over the same period, the number said they would pay more for better service doubled.

The findings underline the importance of putting great service at the centre of any store’s strategy, the ICS said.

The news comes as inflation hit 2.7 per cent during the first three months of the year - its highest level since September 2013.

Official data released this week showed price rises are now outstripping wage increases, meaning retailers are facing an increasingly hard-fought battle for shoppers’ cash.

“At a time when the customer feels like the ground is constantly moving beneath their feet, it is down to UK plc to provide much needed consistency – and this can be done through a relentless focus on customer service," said Jo Causon, chief executive of the ICS. 

“We know that an increasing proportion of people are willing to pay more for better service and these new statistics are testament to that. Customer experience will be everything in the post-Brexit economy."

The researchers spoke to 2,000 people and found that buying from a trusted brand remains a crucial factor, influencing where people spend their money, with personal recommendations also ranking as highly important.

Consumers in the South East would spend an average of 21 per cent extra for great service, while northerners would shell out an extra 15 per cent, according to the survey.

Young people are more disposed to spending for service, with 18 to 34 year olds from across the UK willing to pay an average of 23 per cent extra - more than the overall average of 17 per cent.