Irish companies are 'performing badly' compared to international companies

Credit unions, the National Concert Hall, one of the German retail discounters, a savings bank, An Post, and Penneys are the among the companies and brands that score best in delivering satisfaction to Irish customers, a major survey has found.

However, the Cexi.org survey, which is based on Amárach Research of 2,700 people here and ranks 151 companies, warns that Irish companies are falling far short in satisfying customers’ experience and expectations in competition with international firms.

It found that after long years of cutbacks and recession Irish-owned companies are at risk of losing out because customers will no longer accept being treated poorly as the economic recovery gets under way.

Budget brands and companies are not automatically poor performers and a number of companies that deliver low-cost goods and services perform well in the league table in delivering excellent customer service.

The 2015 Ireland Customer Experience Report unearthed the uncomfortable fact that Irish companies are failing to capitalise on the Irish reputation for personal contact by not dealing with customers directly or through the internet.

“While Irish people generally have a reputation for the personal or human touch, and this is what consumers crave, it turns out that in many cases they don’t get it.

“Too often technology is allowed to interfere with the customer experience and people are put off by automated voice recordings or emails or time consuming applications processes on websites or apps,” says the survey.

The top 10 companies and brands include credit unions, the National Concert Hall, Dublin Zoo, and retailers Aldi and Boots.

Butlers Chocolates, RaboDirect, An Post, Penneys, and in joint tenth place, Hailo and Lloyds Pharmacy, are also the top performers of 151 companies.

“Credit unions are deeply embedded in the communities in which they operate. They are member-owned organisations which provide a personal financial service to their customers.

"Like most of the top performers they scored very highly in empathy, which is something you can’t buy or recreate through advertising,” said Inga Ryan, a director at Cexi.

The next best 10 slots were filled by Marks & Spencer, Specsavers, Sam McCauley Pharmacies, Amazon and Irish Ferries. Aircoach, Guinness Storehouse, IMC Cinemas, and Odeon Cinema also made it onto the top 20 list.

Places for the next best 10 for the top 30 best performers included Aer Lingus, Dealz, Beshoffs, Luas and Mothercare. It also included Tayto Park, Bewley’s Hotels, Supervalu, Lidl and Eason’s.

The performance of Aldi (4th), Penneys (9th) and Lidl (29th) showed that “being cheap and cheerful does not mean you can’t also deliver great customer experience,” said Gerard O’Neill of Amárach Research.

Irish companies, however, are losing out badly and perform poorly when scored against international surveys.

“Irish companies recorded the lowest scores in the ‘expectations’ category and it’s clear many are failing to live up to their own promises or undertaking,” said Mr O’Neill.

“Basically they are overpromising and under delivering Customers want simplicity, straightforward delivery and ... easy access to assistance,” he said.


Lifestyle

Frits Potgieter is General Manager with Muckross Park Hotel and Spa.You've Been Served: Frits Potgieter, Muckross Park Hotel and Spa

More From The Irish Examiner