Colmar Brunton has long been dabbling in the field of customer service research, most recently in last year's Distinctive Customer Experiences Survey, which showed, slightly surprisingly, banks were the best-performing sector. Now it's taking its findings to a wider audience and teaming up with Fair Go for a regular monthly section that identifies New Zealand's "customer service champions".
First up for the Fair Go-Colmar Brunton Best in Service Poll, which asked 2,000 Kiwis whether they have had particularly good or bad customer experiences, is an examination of supermarkets (a few customers had pretty good experiences at the Hamilton Pak n Save over the Easter weekend). All the sectors consumers love to hate—banking, airlines, telecommunications, power companies and real estate firms—will follow.
“We’ve all heard about those companies that have treated customers badly, but Fair Go and Colmar Brunton have decided to take a more constructive approach and identify those organisations that are doing the right thing by Kiwis,” says Dick Brunton, co-founder and executive chairman of Colmar Brunton. “The TV show’s excellent reportage, coupled with our research capabilities, creates a powerful partnership to drive a crusade to improve the customer experience in New Zealand by showing both consumers and companies what good experiences look like.”
Colmar Brunton has conducted customer experience surveys in 2005, 2006 and 2010. The most recent survey showed the personal customer experience in New Zealand has improved in the past five years, mainly because of a significant reduction in particularly bad customer experiences from 72 percent in 2006 to 59 percent.
“After 12 months with Fair Go, we will be able to see whether customer experience is improving in each category, and which brands are improving or failing to improve,” he says.
As we all know, bad customer service can be damaging to brands and bottom lines and customers who have had a bad experience are twice as likely to tell others about it than if they had a good one. And these days, with the mud-slinging ability offered by social media (check out Fonterra's Facebook page), they also have more tools available to disseminate that information.
In the last survey, when asked to name one business that was most dedicated to providing the customer with the best possible service, these businesses stood out:
- Air New Zealand
- National Bank
- New World