Singapore retail service improves

Singapore retail service is improving, according to the latest report by the Institute of Service Excellence (ISES) at the Singapore Management University (SMU).

Its first quarter Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore (CSISG) is based on the results of face-to-face interviews with 8584 locals and 905 tourists between January and April regarding their satisfaction levels across the retail and info-communications sectors.

Scores were slightly higher than the previous study, with retail scoring 71.7 points (up 1.7 points or 2.4 per cent year-on-year) and info-communications scoring 68.5 (1.1 points/1.6 per cent).

Eight sub-sectors were measured in the retail survey, with eCommerce being introduced. Also new are scores for retailers at brand level.

Top brands

Jewellery scored 72.3 points, up 4.2 per cent from 69.3. For brands, Bossini (74.8), Uniqlo (74.5) and Hang Ten (74) took the top three positions.

Department stores had a 2.4 per cent increase to 70.2 points, from 68.6. The top performers were DFS (73.2 points, up 2.2 per cent) and Takashimaya (71.7, up 1.1 per cent).

The new eCommerce sub-sector scored 71.1 points, Zalora ranking first at 73.2 followed by Taobao/Tmall and Groupon at 72 points each. The top three drivers of satisfaction were timeliness of delivery, fair returns and exchange policies, as well as ease of checking out and on-site payment.

“In this difficult economic climate, we are seeing service competitiveness being leveraged as

a differentiator,” says ISES executive director Neeta Lachmandas. “Retailers are paying more attention to store ambience, exploring digital innovations, and refreshing their brand strategies.”

In the supermarkets sub-sector, points eased up 1.2 per cent to 71.5. Cold Storage claimed top spot at 72.5 (up 1.2 per cent) followed by Sheng Shiong (71.9, up 3.5 per cent) and NTUC Fairprice (71.7, up 1.4 per cent). Sheng Shiong’s significant increase follows its expansion across Singapore in the past two years.

Positive impact

Because of more self-checkout counters being introduced in supermarket chains, ISES also measured the impact of this on customer satisfaction levels, describing the outcome as “positively correlated” because of the ease of making payment.

“Overall, the ease of making payment is the most important driver of satisfaction at supermarkets,” says ISES head of research and consulting Chen Yongchang.

Furniture and electronics had little change from the same quarter last year at 71.5 points.

In the info-communications sector, SingTel claimed top spot with 72 point (up 3.8 per cent) for mobile telecom services, followed by StarHub (67.5, down 2.2 per cent) and M1 (65, up 1.6 per cent).

“Network reliability and the ability to closely monitor and nimbly adjust subscription plans as well as loyalty programs appear to be key predictors of satisfaction and loyalty for the sector,” says Yongchang.

ISES was jointly set up by Singapore Management University and Singapore Workforce Development Agency in 2007 to help elevate service levels and promote a culture of service excellence in Singapore.

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