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SMU survey: Consumers more satisfied with F&B sector

Consumers were more satisfied with the food and beverage (F&B) sector in the third quarter as satisfaction levels increased 4.4 per cent against the same quarter last year, according to the Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore (CSISG).

The ability of service staff to meet special requests, explain menu items, as well as the order-taking process were said to be important in driving satisfaction. However, customers had lower expectations for service quality in the F&B sector amid constrained manpower at eateries.

The report was released by the Institute of Service Excellence (ISES) at the Singapore Management University, the same agency that said that the commuters are happier with the transport operators, satisfaction score for SBS Transit went up from 63.9 to 66.5 and for SMRT, the score went up from 61.5 to 66.3.

Read: MRT satisfaction survey could have used small numbers

Singapore citizens and PRs are interviewed at their homes, which are selected from a random address listing that matches the housing profile of Singapore resident population. While, departing tourists are interviewed at Changi Airport.

Each respondent answers up to 21 CSISG questions and about 24 touchpoint questions about a company they had recent experiences with. Typically 100-200 respondents per company would have answered the CSISG questionnaire and a total of 8,563 surveys were completed for the CSISG 2016 third-quarter study.

Ms Neeta Lachmandas, executive director of ISES, 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 that businesses are operating in.”

“In the short term, it may seem that since consumer expectations are not high, performance is good and that it need not improve. But in the long run, it simply means customers will not come back as no one would want to patronise establishments where quality expectations are down,” she added.

Five sub-sectors in Food and Beverages are restaurants, fast food restaurants, cafes and bars, bars and pubs, and food court.

Fish & Co, Boon Tong Kee and Din Tai Fung were picked as top three restaurant in the country as reservation bookings, serving portions, and how long customers waited to be seated are the most important values.

McDonalds, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken were the top three in fast food restaurants sub-sector as the ambience, service staff, and order-taking process as the most important values.

Starbucks, Delifrance, and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf bagged top three in the cafes and snack bars with order-taking process, ability to accommodate to special requests, and attentiveness of service staff as the most important differentiator.

Food Republic, Food Junction, and NTUC Foodfare were listed as top three in food court sub-sector. Quality of beverage, stall operator, and  quality of food were said to be the most important factors.

Within the tourism sector, satisfaction levels rose 2.4 per cent during the third quarter this year against the corresponding period last year. The attractions and hotels sub-sectors were said to be the important roles.

Sentosa, Singapore Zoo, and Universal Studios ranked highest as they are deemed to be easy to get around, clean, and the staffs have wide knowledge about the attraction.

Marina Bay Sands, Shangri-La and The Ritz-Carlton bagged top three as their attention of hygiene factors, hotel facilities, in-room amenities, Internet connectivity, efficiency of check-in and check-out processes as well as the ability to accommodate special requests among the key attributes exceed others.

Ms Neeta said, “The very definition of service is changing in the face of technological disruption and adoption. The traditional understanding of service in terms of staff responsiveness and customer-oriented dispositions, while still important, has now expanded to include a greater emphasis on service process design.”