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Aeon Tsuen Wan

Availability and customer service are key elements in how Singaporeans engage with brands, a new study shows, and bad experiences will lead to lost sales.

Released today by global marketing company Epsilon, the report also discusses how brands are rewarded for positive interactions.

Entitled A Quick Look at Customer Experience in Singapore, the report describes the detailed preferences of consumers who are actively interested in brands.

“Consumers interact with brands in different channels,” says the study, which asked shoppers what would make their experience with brands more satisfying. The availability of the brand when needed was the response of 47 per cent of those questioned for the study. However, this figure rose to 52 per cent among 18- to 24-year-olds.

Good customer services and or support was favoured by 42 per cent of respondents.

Addressing the demand for constant availability, the report says a strong website is essential.

“Meanwhile, shopping remains a leisure activity for many Singaporeans, 42 per cent of respondents saying they still like to visit a bricks-and-mortar store to engage with their favourite brands.”

Customers have different channels they prefer for receiving information from brands, and the study notes that these preferences differ greatly for brands in different categories. High-frequency categories include banks, grocers and airlines, and mobile apps are noted as being effective for reaching customers (preferred by 25-27 per cent of busy Singaporeans).

However, email marketing is still strong, being the preferred channel for travel (47 per cent), financial service providers and eCommerce (both 45 per cent), and restaurants and eateries (39 per cent).

A key finding of the study is the importance of brand experiences, with good experiences creating advocates while poor experiences lead to negative word-of-mouth. With 55 per cent of Singaporeans will share details of a good experience, 57 per cent will tell family and friends about a bad experience. As well as that, 59 per cent will cut back on purchases after a bad experience, and 55 per cent will stop buying from the company altogether.

Among high-income consumers, these figures rise even higher – 72 per cent will buy less often after a bad experience.

Singaporeans like being rewarded for their patronage, with 65 per cent being motivated to share personal information if a brand has a reward program. Exclusive deals and discounts also rank highly, with 59 per cent of respondents being motivated to share information in return for a special deal. Just behind, at 57 per cent, are reward or loyalty programs where customers can earn points or miles in the airline and credit categories.

Employing more than 7000 associates in 70 offices worldwide, Epsilon is an Alliance Data company.

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