Customer satisfaction levels down after 2014 peak

Shoppers in Orchard Road.
Shoppers in Orchard Road.PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Customer satisfaction levels fell for the first time in four years last year, according to a national index started in 2007 to monitor customer service.

The decline comes after four consecutive years of increased customer satisfaction, culminating in a record high score of 71.1 out of 100 points in 2014.

Results released by the Institute of Service Excellence (ISES) at the Singapore Management University on Wednesday (March 30) saw the overall score dip to 70.2 points, a fall of 1.3 per cent, due in part to a poorer performance by the finance and insurance, and healthcare sectors.

Both sectors registered a 2 per cent decline, with finance and insurance falling to 70.9 points and healthcare to 69.6 points, in the Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore statistics.

A common observation for the lower customer satisfaction levels across the companies in the finance and insurance sector was lower satisfaction with touchpoints, such as bank branches, personal bankers and financial advisors, ISES said.

Performance was also generally lacklustre among the nine other industry sectors measured earlier in 2015, said ISES.

The private education sector scored lower with 64.1 points (-2.5%), while the info-communications, retail and tourism sectors did not register substantial changes. The food and beverage and public education sectors, however, registered higher scores with 67.1 (+2%) and 74.1 (+1.6%) respectively.

The air transport, land transport and logistics sectors were introduced in 2015 and thus do not have a benchmark comparison.

Within the finance and insurance sector, the life insurance sub-sector saw the biggest fall with a decline of 3.01 points (-4.1%) to 70.6 points, followed by the health and medical insurance sub-sector, which scored 2.15 points (-3%) lower at 70.2 points.

The banks sub-sector, scored 1.12 points (-1.6%) lower at 71.1 points, and the motor and other personal insurance sub-sector fell 0.98 points (-1.4%) to 70.5.

The decline in the healthcare sector's score came primarily from three of its five sub-sectors. General practitioners fell 2.1 points (-2.9%) to 69.4, while the "other healthcare" sub-sector, comprising healthcare providers such as dental and Traditional Chinese Medicine clinics, scored 69.7 points (-1%).

Meanwhile, satisfactionwith the polyclinics and private hospitals sub-sectors rose slightly, though neither change was statistically significant, ISES said.

The 2015 study polled 42,501 locals and departing tourists and covered 2,330 companies in the 11 measured industry sectors.