Singapore consumers expect authenticity, good service

People cross a road in Singapore's shopping district Orchard Road. A study has showed Singapore consumers expect authenticity and good service.
People cross a road in Singapore's shopping district Orchard Road. A study has showed Singapore consumers expect authenticity and good service. PHOTO: REUTERS

Singaporeans expect companies they buy from to treat them with respect and protect their privacy, new research has found.

The study, a first of its kind by public relations firm Cohn & Wolfe, aimed to define "authenticity" and find out how it affects consumers.

In surveying about 950 consumers here, the agency found that "respectfulness" - which encompasses treating customers well and protecting their privacy and data - was a trait lacking in brands here.

"It shows a concern from the consumer who is thinking: I don't want them to steal my data and sell it, I don't want them to have weak security infrastructures and have my credit card details stolen," Cohn & Wolfe's global practice leader Andrew Escott told The Straits Times.

The study said that an authentic brand is one that is reliable, respectful and honest.

"Authenticity is more what customers experience than distant things like values or environmental responsibility," Mr Escott said. "In Singapore, 86 per cent reported that if a brand or company is authentic, they would reward it, in line with the global figure."

Singapore Airlines emerged here as the most authentic brand across industries.

When it came to sectors, finance was voted most authentic.

The Straits Times was viewed as the second most authentic media outlet here after Disney.

The global study was held across 14 markets, 12,000 consumers and 1,600 brands in September and October last year.

Globally, 78 per cent of people believe brands not to be authentic. In Singapore, it was 87 per cent.

Mr Escott added that authenticity is relevant now because of radical transparency and the amount of confidential information available in the public domain.

Another survey by LogMeIn, a United States-based company which creates online connection tools, also sought to learn about consumers' attitudes towards brands.

It found that 78 per cent of Singaporeans will not patronise a brand after just one bad experience with it.

A public servant who wanted to be known as Ms Juneeta, 28, has avoided eateries that have provided her bad service just once:

She said: "I don't see the point of going back there when I have may other options."

However, she will continue visiting shops that sell unique items even if they provide bad service.

Jalelah Abu Baker

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore consumers expect authenticity, good service'. Print Edition | Subscribe