SINGAPORE (Mar 28): Singapore’s national customer satisfaction hit a new high in 2017, according to the 2017 Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore (CSISG) released by the Institute of Service Excellence (ISE) at the Singapore Management University (SMU).

ISE is a joint initiative by SMU and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

The CSISG 2017 study features results from 30,135 completed questionnaires from Singapore citizens, PRs and departing tourists at Changi Airport. A total of 650 distinct entities were measured, out of which 174 received published scores.

On a 0-100 scale, the latest full-year ICSISG national score rose to 72.9 points for 2017 from 71.8 points a year ago.

In a joint release between ISE and SMU, the two entities attribute the y-o-y increase in the national score to upticks in customer satisfaction in the Finance & Insurance and Healthcare sectors.

The Finance & Insurance sector scored 73.4 points, up 1.05 points from the 2016 score of 72.4.

Out of the five sub-sectors it comprises, Banks, Credit Cards and Health & Medical registered statistically significant upticks in customer satisfaction scores, note ISE and SMU, while performance in the Life Insurance and Motor & Other Personal Insurance sectors remained flat from the year before.

Meanwhile, the Healthcare sector scored 71.8 points, up 0.85 point from its 2016 score of 71 points on the back of y-o-y improvements observed for attributes such as “ease of getting around” and “waiting experience”.

This comes despite continued low satisfaction ratings for “waiting time taken before undergoing a medical test or seeing a doctor”, as well as minor upticks across sub-sectors of Healthcare which were not considered statistically significant.

In particular, ISE and SMU highlight that among the customers surveyed for Banks, those who identified usage with “Internet banking” or “mobile app” had a tendency to report higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty than those who did not.

It is also observed that the demonstrated ability to handle complaints are able to swing a company’s customer satisfaction score markedly. Healthcare sector customers whose complaints were deemed to be “handled well” scored 73.4 points in customer satisfaction, compared to only 28.6 points among those whose complaints were assessed to be “handled poorly”.

“There appears to be a positive relationship between usage of digital channels and higher scores across various customer metrics including satisfaction, loyalty, and number of products held with the bank. This is certainly an encouraging sign for banks that have been pushing for digital adoption," says Neeta Lachmandas, ISE Executive Director, on the recent survey findings.

“Based on insights from the Healthcare sector, complaints are an area that may not necessarily work against an organisation. When complaints are well handled, customers do tend to reward companies with high satisfaction ratings and the level of satisfaction may even be comparable to that of customers who did not have a reason to complain,” she adds.