Customers less satisfied with telco service: SMU study

The survey studied 1,900 subscribers of various info-communications services. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The quality of service provided by mobile telcos has fallen by 3.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with last year, according to a regular study by the Singapore Management University that tracks customer satisfaction.

Mobile phone users gave lower ratings in answering whether they felt their service provider took good care of their needs and had their best interest at heart.

Mr Chen Yongchang, head of research and consulting at the Institute of Service Excellence, said the fall in ratings could be due to service issues, such as having problems reaching the call centre. He added that the new entrants tend to offer services that target issues existing telcos face and offer more attractive packages such as unlimited data and higher rebates.

"This can raise the expectations of existing customers, who may wonder why their own telcos are not able to offer the same," Mr Chen said.

The survey, which studied 1,900 subscribers of various info-communications services between February and April, also found a marked decrease in the number of telco services (such as mobile, broadband and pay-TV) broadband customers held, from an average of 2.4 in 2019 to 1.6 this year.

"It is likely because of increased competition in the industry, with a large number of providers offering similarly priced services," said Mr Chen.

SMU also said on Thursday (June 25) that another survey it conducted through online survey panels involving 2,579 customers of department stores, e-commerce, fashion apparel and supermarkets, found that customers who had researched a product online before buying it at a brick and mortar store provided a loyalty score that was 13.4 per cent higher for the store. For department stores, customers spent an average of $148 more after researching the products online before buying them at physical stores.

Mr Chen explained that customers who had done their research online could have developed greater loyalty for the brand after comparing the price and quality of goods offered with that of other retailers.

"This dispels the notion that online shopping is a threat to traditional stores, said Ms Neeta Lachmandas, the institute's executive director.

She added that during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic companies can leverage such buying behaviour to provide an alternative to shopping at a physical store.

The Straits Times has contacted Singtel, StarHub and M1 for comment.

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