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Personalised Customer Service counts

Thursday 6 December 2007

Kiwi Customers Send Clear Message
Personalised Customer Service counts!

Women and the under-30’s are more likely to be satisfied with standards of customer service in New Zealand than older males.

And, according to the first annual Kiwihost/JRA Perceptions of Customer Service in NZ survey, only 33 percent of respondents are currently satisfied with the level of customer service they receive.

The national survey is the first ever undertaken in New Zealand to specifically gauge levels of customer service. KiwiHost, the country’s largest provider of customer experience management programmes, combined with JRA (NZ) Ltd, New Zealand’s leading provider of stakeholder surveys and analysis, to undertake the customer service survey.

Kiwihost managing director, Simon Nikoloff, said it is imperative for businesses to set a yardstick against which they can measure their effectiveness.

“We believe it is vitally important for businesses and the public to have an accurate understanding of what modern Kiwi customers value – which this survey achieves!”

The survey shows on average only one in three people are happy with the level of service they receive with 67 percent of respondents either neutral, or dissatisfied.

Survey responses came from throughout the country and encapsulated a wide sample of customers, age and demographic.

The data revealed some interesting trends in the way men and women perceive customer service. Age demographic also was integral to customers’ perception of service standards.

“Women were more likely to be satisfied than their male counterparts. Overall 34 percent of female respondents are satisfied with the level of customer service they experience, compared to only 27 percent of males!”

JRA managing director, John Robertson, says one of the most interesting aspects of the survey was the older the respondent to the survey, the less satisfied they were likely to be with customer service.

“The general trend emerged showing the older you are; the less satisfied with customer service. When we split the data into two key age categories – under 30 versus over 30, what stood out was the under 30 age group are definitely more positive than the over 30’s!”

Three key issues were identified as being of critical importance to ensure customer satisfaction:

“Firstly, customers want businesses to show a willingness to help. Secondly to listen and understand what the customers’ needs are and thirdly, and most importantly we believe, to take responsibility and ensure those needs are met.”

Mr Nikoloff said these three themes were consistently voted by respondents as being “the most important to customers’ levels of satisfaction with service.

“Get these three things right, and many more customers will walk away with a positive perception of your business!”

A wide range of businesses were mentioned by respondents in the survey with some key industries consistently mentioned for both positive and negative comment. In general, retailers came out on top with 42.1 percent of customers mentioning a retail store when asked to name a business providing great customer service.

The telecommunications sector fared less well, with 20 percent of respondents providing negative feedback.

In fact the overall scores for telecommunications were significantly lower than for any other industry indicating they are currently top of mind for many respondents as providing poor levels of customer service.

Mr Robertson says the message for New Zealand business was clear.

“Our research certainly points to a big gap between what customers want from service providers in New Zealand – both in the public and private sectors – and what they are getting.

“Those organisations which focus on ensuring they are meeting the needs of their customers stand to differentiate themselves from everybody else. This ensures higher customer retention, an increasing customer base and, of course, better bottom-line performance.”

- ends –

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