Great service beats kissing when it comes to pleasure, according to American Express Service study

Jul 25, 2013, 08:19 ET from American Express

Scientific study commissioned by American Express reveals physiological, emotional and psychological impact of good service on the everyday lives of Canadians

TORONTO, July 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Everyone knows that receiving a great customer service experience feels good, but today a study, commissioned by American Express, reveals why. In a world first, scientists today uncovered a correlation between great service experiences and improved health, proving that it really does pay (at least health-wise) to give and receive great service. Conducted across a global sample, the first-of-its-kind cognitive research study found that great service can improve feelings of wellbeing, reduce feelings of anxiety and sadness, and even make people feel less lonely.

In fact, the American Express Service study found that both providing and benefitting from great service triggers the same basic cerebral reactions as feeling loved, and that it positively affects our emotional state of mind.

Amex recognizes that its Cardmembers want to feel like more than just a customer and partnered with global neuroscience organization Neurosense to investigate the physiological and psychological effects great service has on customers.  The study used highly specialized technology including, patented psychological testing¹ and biometric testing² to measure the impact of service on the mind and body.

"Our research shows great service experiences rank as peak pleasures, which are known to decrease stress and improve feelings of wellbeing," said Professor Gemma Calvert, Managing Director of Neurosense Group. "The physiological, emotional and psychological effects of great service were recorded to have a positive impact on the body's overall wellbeing, which in turn has positive effect on the subject's health."

The American Express Service Study reveals:

  • Great acts of service cause a chain reaction of positive responses in the body, increasing heart rate and galvanic skin response (or perspiration level) as excitement and exhilaration builds.
  • 68 per cent of people felt their breathing rate decrease from 16.7 cycles per minute to 10.2 cycles per minute-as they relaxed and became happier-when thinking about great service.
  • 74 per cent of people felt their heart rate increase from a baseline of approximately 76 BPM to 87 BPM when thinking about providing great service.
  • Over half of those tested were found to feel pride when on the receiving end of great service (55 per cent). The 'personal boost' of someone going out of their way for you can help to build self-esteem, further underpinning the far-reaching impact of great service on our wellbeing.

"Great service has always been the cornerstone of the American Express business - it's what separates us from our competitors and has for the past 160 years in Canada," said Brett Mooney, Vice President, Consumer Acquisition and Management at American Express Canada. "We always want to offer our Cardmembers a range of experiences that make their lives easier and more special. Now, through the results of this study, we have gained valuable insight into the science behind amazing service and the positive effect it has on others and ourselves."

Notes to Editor

  1. The experiment was conducted in two phases. The first tackled the psychological response to good service, capturing participants' unconscious feelings using the patented Neurosense BrainLink™ software, which measures response times to certain concepts and related words or images.
  2. The second phase measured physiological reactions (heart rate, breathing rate and galvanic skin response) to good service. Reactions were monitored using biometric equipment at the University of the West of England in Bristol, United Kingdom. As physiological reactions are consistent and show a basic human reaction, to provide a scientifically robust result the biometric tests carried in one country.
  3. This is illustrated by nearly three quarters of participants whose heart rate increased when exposed to great service (74 per cent).
  4. A total of 1,620 participants in the UK, Canada, Mexico and Australia were tested. Ages ranged from 18 to 60 and 50/50 gender split.

About American Express Canada
American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express charge and credit cards, with outstanding products like the American Express® Gold Rewards Card, and the American Express® AIR MILES® Platinum Card. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast. For more information, visit

SOURCE American Express