Customer satisfaction at new high last year

Customers rated reliability of MRT trains and the helpfulness of staff highly in last year's national customer satisfaction poll.
Reliability of MRT trains and the helpfulness of staff were cited as areas to work on, to drive perceived quality higher in last year's national customer satisfaction poll.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

There were more smiles on the faces of consumers last year, going by an annual survey which found record high levels of customer satisfaction.

The 2016 Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore released yesterday shows national customer satisfaction levels hit a score of 71.8 points out of 100, eclipsing the previous high of 71.1 in 2014.

The scores were released by the Institute of Service Excellence (ISE) at Singapore Management University, which has conducted the annual survey since 2007.

The land transport sector had the highest jump of 5.4 per cent, led by the MRT sub-sector. Train reliability and helpfulness of staff were cited as areas to work on, to drive perceived quality higher.

Two sub-sectors fell last year - postal services took the hardest hit with a drop of 5 per cent, while the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) fell by 2 per cent.

  • 71.8

    Singapore's 2016 consumer satisfaction index, up from 71.4 in 2014


    Number of people surveyed

For postal services, the three factors that were rated the lowest were operating hours, clarity of signage and queue times. As for the ITE, computing matters such as IT infrastructure and how helpful and responsive administrative staff were saw a drop in scores.

Last year's record customer satisfaction score was achieved on the back of improvements in the healthcare as well as finance and insurance sectors, which both saw their scores increase by 2 per cent or more.

This was in contrast with their performance in 2015, when they both registered a 2 per cent decline, leading the national score to dip for the first time in four years.

In particular, the finance and insurance sector contributes significantly to the national score because those sectors that contribute more to Singapore's gross domestic product are given a higher weightage when it comes to measuring customer satisfaction.

ISE executive director Neeta Lachmandas said qualities such as responsiveness, empathy and assurance were important in the finance and insurance sector, which is "highly relationship based".

The institute's head of research and consulting Chen Yongchang said the results suggest efforts to improve satisfaction across sectors are bearing fruit.

At the ISE forum where the results were released, Mr Raju Nair, managing director and regional head of customer journey experience at DBS, cited the bank's SMS queue system as a way to make things more convenient for customers.

The 2016 customer satisfaction survey polled 40,809 people and covered 1,245 companies.

Correction note: In our earlier story, we said respondents were satisfied with train reliability and helpfulness of staff. This is incorrect. These factors were cited as drivers of perceived quality to improve satisfaction levels. We are sorry for the error. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2017, with the headline 'Customer satisfaction at new high last year'. Print Edition | Subscribe