SINGAPORE: Customers were happier with services provided by their telcos in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, according to the results of a nationwide customer satisfaction survey released on Wednesday (Jun 28).
The info-communications sector that these mobile and broadband services came under scored a record high of 69.6 points out of 100, up 1.6 per cent, said the Institute of Service Excellence (ISE) at the Singapore Management University, which compiles the Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore.
The longer customers stayed subscribed to a particular telco for these services, the more loyal they were, the survey found. They were also more likely to recontract and tolerate price hikes.
Analysis showed that service attributes relating to responsiveness, assurance and empathy were key drivers of loyalty, in addition to the usual product-related attributes such as suitable subscription plans and fast data speeds, ISE said in its news release.
Wi-Fi service provider Wireless@SG also came under the info-communications sector.
"While competitive product features will continue to play a big part in keeping customers, it is notable that service-related considerations such as 'makes the effort to understand your needs' and 'has your best interest at heart' have surfaced as important attributes to drive customer loyalty," said ISE's head of research and consulting Chen Yongchang.
A total of 6,070 locals and 830 tourists were surveyed in face-to-face interviews between January 2017 and April 2017 on their satisfaction levels with companies within the retail and info-communications sectors.
DEPARTMENT STORES MAKE MARKED IMPROVEMENT
Under the retail sector, the supermarkets, department stores, fashion apparels and e-commerce sub-sectors were measured. Their performance in the first quarter was similar to the same period last year, ISE found. However, it noted that customer satisfaction with department stores showed a marked improvement.
“The notable improvement in customer satisfaction with department stores stemmed largely from more satisfied locals. This increase could be related to the revamps of various stores and product offerings, as well as increased promotional activities targeted at boosting sales,” said ISE executive director Neeta Lachmandas.
Still, analysis across industries revealed lower satisfaction and loyalty for department stores' customers who shopped only at the physical stores when compared to the e-commerce sub-sector’s customers, ISE said. In contrast, customers who had experienced the stores’ digital platforms experienced similar levels of customer satisfaction and higher levels of customer loyalty as online shoppers.
“This would suggest that traditional brick-and-mortar stores could be better served and complemented by developing a robust omni-channel presence if they have not already done so. It can potentially give them a competitive edge over the e-commerce retailers,” said Mr Chen.
While the supermarkets sub-sector did not see any significant year-on-year change in scores, customers who had frequently used the ‘self-checkout’ counters expressed greater satisfaction levels compared to those who frequented the manned cashier counters.
“Offering retail customers more ways to shop, whether through online channels or self-checkout counters, could enhance the customer experience, thereby positively impacting customer satisfaction and loyalty,” said Mr Chen.