Roy Morgan has a long history of customer satisfaction research, particularly in the banking space. But it's expanded its reach with its latest initiative in an effort to reward Kiwi brands across 24 sectors that have the best customer satisfaction ratings.
The Customer Satisfaction Awards are based on Roy Morgan Single Source, which surveys over 12,000 New Zealander’s annually, and Michele Levine, chief executive of Roy Morgan Research, says customer satisfaction is absolutely vital to every New Zealand business, particularly in the new age of social media, where any negative customer interaction can literally be broadcast to thousands people virtually instantly.
“Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers’ beliefs, attitudes and preferences and collecting data on New Zealanders for the last ten years, including customer satisfaction," she says. "Our clients have recently helped us realise that our customer satisfaction data is far more robust and meaningful than most of the awards that we see constantly promoted in the media. Unlike all the others, ours are the result of a single question; the same question across numerous categories, which asks consumers to rate products and services they have used on a five-point scale."
Colmar Brunton launched a Customer Service Award last year with Fair Go, but Levine says this study produces different results to the considered opinions of "a few people in a product testing laboratory, the readers of a particular magazine or the opinions of users who are asked to rate products in just one isolated category". And the broad-brush approach means it can continue to track the customer satisfaction rates through the year with the monthly awards.
She says it's much easier to upsell to satisfied customers than dissatisfied customers and it's now very important to deal with the small number of dissatisfied customers, preferably before they have a chance to voice their opinion but, in the case of Qantas after its fleet was grounded, to try and make amends for when things inevitably go wrong as quickly as possible.
2011 Annual Award Winners:
- Financial Institution of the Year: SBS Bank
- Major Bank of the Year: Kiwibank
- Domestic Airline of the Year: Air New Zealand
- International Airline of the Year: Singapore Airlines
- Hotel of the Year: Novotel
- Retail Coffee Shop of the Year: Muffin Break
- Clothing Store of the Year: Postie
- Department Store of the Year: Kirkcaldie & Stains
- Furniture/Electrical Store of the year: Harvey Norman
- Hardware Store of the Year: Bunnings
- Liquor Store of the Year: Liquorland
- Music/Book Store of the Year: JB Hi Fi
- Pharmacy of the Year: Unichem
- Quick Service Restaurant of the year: Subway
- Shoe Store of the Year: Hannahs
- Sports Store of the Year: Hunting & Fishing
- Supermarket of the Year: Pak ‘n Save
- Home Phone Provider of the Year: Vodafone
- Internet Service Provider of the Year: Paradise
- Mobile Handset of the Year: Apple iPhone
- Mobile Service Provider of the Year: 2degrees
- Electricity Provider of the Year: Energy OnLine
- Gas Provider of the Year: Genesis Energy
- Car Manufacturer of the Year: Suzuki
Not surprisingly, all the regular whipping boys were down at the bottom of the overall customer satisfaction list, with gas, electricity, airlines, telcos and banks getting between 72 and 80 percent satisfaction rates. Although, considering the regular bank bashing that goes on she doesn't think the banks are doing too badly, with the majority of customers satisfied at what they're getting.
Cars, clothing and pharmacies were at the top of the list, all hovering around 90 percent. And she says this is simply because consumers feel good about things like cars and clothing, and pharmacies always rate highly on the most-trusted list, whereas consumers only really ever think about their power, gas or phone when there's a problem or when they receive a bill.
Interestingly, there was no sign of Powershop on the list, despite the fact it has done exceedingly well by making power more of an FMCG product and ramping up the levels of customer service. But this may be because it is to small, or because it's a wholly-owned subsidiary of Meridian, which is tracked by the study.