Customers miss personal touch as firms fall short

Customers miss personal touch as firms fall short

By Eamon Quinn

Credit unions are the top Irish brands for customer experience even as their bank rivals failed to make the top 50, while Ryanair and the social media giants such as Facebook slumped in the rankings, according to a major survey measuring how Irish shoppers were treated by companies.

The new league table for 2018 emerged after market researcher CX Excellence used Amárach to ask 2,500 Irish consumers what they thought of the companies supplying their goods and services, including the banking industry, retailing, and power utilities.

Credit unions again emerged as the top performers for getting on with their customers and continued to be miles above the rankings of the main banks, according to the survey.

The theme of the 2018 survey was that consumers miss dealing with real human beings — and they reward credit unions and appear to mark down banks which have been taking staff away from branches.

However, the No 2 slot was secured by online shopping giant Amazon, while an international hotel Radisson Blu and bricks-and-mortar shops also dominate the top placings.

Hotel Radisson Blu shot up for the third highest score for customer satisfaction, followed by Ikea, health insurer Laya, bus company Citylink, An Post, Boots, and Netflix, with Lidl securing the 10th best slot.

“People’s expectations are higher now and what was good enough in the past is not now,” said CX chairman Michael Killeen.

Digital is playing a bigger role and that brings more choice and cheaper prices. While this is good for consumers, digital also creates a more level playing field by disrupting customer loyalty — more easily done with Generation Tinder — and narrowing gaps between competitors.

“This, of course, brings a host of challenges for businesses and makes it harder for brands to stand out. It also raises the question that we might be simply setting the bar too low,” he said.

The researcher also highlighted the poor treatment of staff in restaurants as helping to push many restaurants out of its top 100, leading to staff shortages “which has a huge impact on the end users’ experience”.

Telecom and utility firms continue to be rated poorly and among the biggest brand losers were the social media giants, which have been hit by users’ concerns over the misuse of personal data, and Ryanair, which has been disrupted by strikes.

The CX survey found the rankings of Google and YouTube tumbling, and Facebook falling out of the top 150. After its “annus horribilis”, Ryanair is now ranked 132nd for customer experience.

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