Customer satisfaction up for tourism and F&B Sectors: report

Customer satisfaction up for tourism and F&B Sectors: report

The tourism and food & beverage (F&B) sectors showed upticks in customer satisfaction in the third quarter of 2016, according to the Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore (CSISG).

According to the report, which was released by the Institute of Service Excellence (ISES), the tourism sector saw a 1.7 point increase from a year ago to 71.1 points, while the F&B score rose 2.98 points to 70.1 points.

However, the results also showed a decline in expected quality among locals for certain F&B establishments, which could affect repeat business if the trend continues in subsequent years.

Neeta Lachmandas, executive director of ISES at the Singapore Management University (SMU), said: "Despite a general uptrend in customer satisfaction, we are seeing a decrease in expected quality among locals, particularly in food courts, bars and pubs as well as cafes and snack bars, possibly signalling a mindset adjustment within the manpower-constrained environment."

Expected quality refers to expectations the consumer has before trying an establishment, which could be shaped by factors such as word of mouth or social media.

If the decline continues in subsequent years, this could affect customer satisfaction and repurchase intentions in the future.

"I do think that process design and concept design is going to become more important, whether it is a hotel, an attraction or a restaurant," Ms Lachmandas said.

She added that businesses need to understand what customers are looking for because customer expectations are changing.

Restaurant Wild Rocket, for example, has built-in trays on its tables for diners to help themselves to cutlery. This is against the backdrop of a tight labour market for the services industry.

The scores for other sub-sectors such as hotels (72.5 points) and travel & tour services (68.7) showed no significant change, while online travel agencies (67.7) was added as a sub-sector this year.

Top-ranking hotels include Marina Bay Sands (77.2) and Shangri-La (75.6).

Meanwhile, in the F&B sector, bars and pubs reported a score of 72.7, or 3.75 points higher, outperforming the overall F&B sector average.

The score for food courts edged up 2.74 points to 69.2, and the score for cafes and snack bars increased 2.64 points to 70.7.

Fast-food restaurants showed no significant change in score.

In the cafes and snack bars sub-sector, Starbucks (72.7 points) and Delifrance (72.2) were among the top contenders, with order-taking process, ability to accomodate special requests and staff attentiveness singled out as key attributes.

Ease of making reservations and waiting time to be seated were key differentiators that affected perceived quality and loyalty for the restaurants sub-sector, which scored 69.8.

The shortage of talent was one of the topics that came up in a panel discussion on Tuesday at the event to release the CSISG results.

The hotelier and restaurateur behind Unlisted Collection, Loh Lik Peng, highlighted the need to create an attractive work environment with career progression for staff, as well as the need to empower them by giving them the autonomy to make decisions.

The study was conducted between July and October, with over 8,560 surveys completed.

This article was first published on November 30, 2016.
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