Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Customer satisfaction

Recently, there has been quite a hot discussion the results of customer satisfaction survey in Singapore. The key issue is the finding that Singapore's customer satisfaction index has declined! It means that customer is less satisfied with the service this year compared to last year. In response to that, the so called Singapore Retailers Association (SRA) blames the customer! It is said that the frontline service personnel has been given training and they have improved. The customer is now to be blamed because they have increase their expectation.

How far can the retailers be from the current denial? Are really customers to be blamed for desiring more? Who are the customers? I thought customers are what the retailers want to gain. The world is dynamic and so are customers. It is inherent that people desire better situations, better products, better service and so on. The key point of winning customers is to fulfill their expectations or even winning them. So, customer satisfaction is a moving target. To say that the service improve while not managing to satisfy customers or clients are like saying that one is prepared to catch a 1 tonne fish with a makeshift wooden fishing rod (forgive my analogy, I can't find better example than this :-P). The inability of the retailers to understand what the customer wants or expects should not be turned around to the extent that customers are asked to lower their expectation. Who are to be served here at the first place? Service should not stagnate and should aim higher and higher to fulfill and exceed customer satisfactions. Efforts should be put forward to really understand customer's needs, e.g. maybe better ambient, better store set up, wider product line up or simply staff that speaks the language. Instead of complaining, the energy should be better spent on interviewing and seeking feedback to formulate real actions.

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