Customer satisfaction in retail and info-communications sectors inch up in 2015

SINGAPORE - A nationwide survey on customer satisfaction in the retail and info-communications sectors has shown that satisfaction levels inched up in 2015 from the year before.

Of the eight retail sub-sectors surveyed, only the petrol stations and motor vehicles sub-sectors showed significant improvement, the latest Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore, released on Wednesday, has found.

The retail sector scored 70 points out of 100, an increase of 0.5 per cent compared to 2014, while the info-communications sector scored 67.4 points, up 0.9 per cent, said the Institute of Service Excellence at the Singapore Management University (ISES), which compiled the index.

Both changes were not statistically significant, said ISES. The only entities that showed significant improvement were Esso petrol station (+4.8 per cent) and OG departmental store (+4.0 per cent), while supermarket chain Sheng Shiong was the only entity whose score fell significantly (-3.0 per cent).

Feedback was gathered from 9,000 locals and tourists between January and March 2015.

The survey noted that customers' perception of value has become less important in driving satisfaction. This means that while discounts and sales can help drive customers into stores, these are increasingly unlikely to translate to more satisfied customers.

Another key finding was that locals and tourists responded differently to the various service touchpoints. For example, in departmental stores, how courteous and professional the staff are had less impact on local consumers.

To tourists, however, the store layout and ambience were more important in driving satisfaction.

ISES academic director Marcus Lee said: "The changing visitor numbers to Singapore may be beyond the control of most businesses here, but once the customer is in the door, stores must be able to match the experience with expectations, and managers must be cognisant of its customers' profiles and their potentially different perceptions of what constitutes a great experience."