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    Mar 31, 2016

    1st time drop in customer satisfaction levels in 4 years

    CUSTOMER satisfaction levels fell for the first time in four years last year after hitting its highest in 2014.

    Results released by the Institute of Service Excellence (ISES) at the Singapore Management University yesterday saw the overall score dip from 71.1 out of 100 in 2014 to 70.2 last year.

    This was due in part to a poorer performance by the finance and insurance as well as healthcare sectors.

    ISES executive director Neeta Lachmandas said the finance and insurance sector carries more weight in the index, due to its higher contribution to Singapore's gross domestic product, and its performance contributed substantially to the national score.

    While the study did not capture complaint types, a common observation from companies in the sector was lower customer satisfaction with touchpoints such as bank branches, personal bankers and financial advisers.

    The life insurance sub-sector saw the biggest fall with a decline of 4.1 per cent, followed by health and medical insurance, which dropped 3 per cent. The banks sub-sector dropped 1.6 per cent, and the motor and other personal insurance sub-sector fell 1.4 per cent.

    Maybank, which leapt from seventh place to first for bank customer satisfaction, attributed its improvement to reducing waiting times, among other initiatives.

    The decline in the healthcare sector's score came primarily from decreased satisfaction with general practitioners and the "other healthcare" sub-sector, which comprises specialist providers, dental and traditional Chinese medicine clinics.

    The private education sector fell 2.5 per cent, while the info-communications, retail and tourism sectors did not register substantial changes, ISES added.

    The food and beverage and public education sectors, however, registered gains of 2 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively.

    The air transport, land transport and logistics sectors, previously lumped into a single category, were introduced last year and do not have a benchmark comparison.

    The 2015 study polled 42,501 locals and departing tourists and covered 2,330 companies in the 11 measured industry sectors.

    Professor Jochen Wirtz of the National University of Singapore Business School said: "Customers are getting very impatient .

    "Especially for banking and insurance, more is done now online and on apps. When you call your bank, there's usually a problem so a lot rests on how good they are at dealing with service issues."