[Sponsored Report] Best results yet for 2013 NCSI survey

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[Sponsored Report] Best results yet for 2013 NCSI survey

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From left: Samsung C&T regularly trains its customer satisfaction (CS) engineers in order to provide swift, professional services to customers; SK Telecom fulfills its corporate social responsibility by supporting local markets with its information communications technology; Korea Yakult hosts a kimchi-making festival to supply the traditional dish to underprivileged families. Provided by the companies

Korean consumers in 2013 were more satisfied than ever, according to the National Customer Satisfaction Index.

The NCSI, jointly provided by the Korea Productivity Center (KPC) and University of Michigan, recorded a score of 73 points - 0.2 points (0.3 percent) higher than last year.

For the index, 76,757 customers of 287 companies, universities or public institutions in 65 industries were surveyed, and the results were the best in the history of the NCSI survey, indicating that domestic companies succeeded in satisfying customers with their products and services, even in a sluggish economy.

The No. 1 company on the list was Samsung C&T, which received a score of 86 points for its apartment services. The second and third places were claimed, respectively, by Lotte Hotel, with 82 points, and Severance Hospital with 81 points.

Although top scorers have been enjoying an upward trend in their customer satisfaction levels, the situation is not so satisfactory for companies in the mid to low range, as the ratings gap between these and the top companies became larger.

The KPC recommended that lower scorers implement customer-oriented management strategies more actively in the long run in order to keep up.

Analysis: hotels score highest

Hotel services came out on top for the second year in a row, scoring one point higher than in 2012. Hospitals and upper-midsized vehicles followed with 77 and 76 points, while the college industry was the lowest-ranking, with 64 points.

Even in the face of an unfavorable external environment, hotels showed the most impressive performance. Despite a decrease in Japanese tourists due to a weak yen and the aggressive expansion of business hotels, a total of eight hotel services were listed in the index’s top 20 companies last year. The KPC attributed this to the continuous efforts of hotels to adapt, by remodeling rooms and recreational facilities, for example.

Compared to 2012, 29 out of 65 industries (44.6 percent) saw an improvement in customer satisfaction. Railway services recorded the single highest rise at 7.4 percent.

Meanwhile, 17 out of 65 industries (26.2 percent) faced a decline in their index ratings. Colleges saw the biggest decrease at 4.5 percent.

Most colleges failed to reassure students about finding jobs after graduation or alleviate the pressure felt due to high tuition fees, resulting in a three-point decrease from the 2012 index.

Top performers stay strong

Amid the ups and downs, the top performers of some industries have maintained their No. 1 positions for more than a decade. Samsung C&T, along with SK Telecom of the mobile services industry and Korea Yakult of the dairy industry, have remained top players in their respective fields for 16 consecutive years.

According to industry watchers, Samsung C&T’s unrivaled customer satisfaction in apartments can be accredited to its full commitment to customers. Samsung C&T invites customers for a “pre-quality experience” before moving in, allowing them to check their future homes for any defects.

NCSI as an economic predictor

The KPC reported that the NCSI is closely correlated with some important macroeconomic indicators and stressed its ability to predict economic performances.

According to the KPC, the NCSI showed a positive correlation with stock indexes. In a bad economy, companies tend to cut down on investment in products and services, lowering customer satisfaction, while in a good economy the opposite happens.

This implies that the NCSI can help predict economic growth and job creation.

“Companies should focus on raising customer satisfaction especially in a recession, as a high NCSI will lead to a better economic performance,” said KPC Chairman and CEO Jin Hong. “The KPC will keep improving NCSI to make it a better indicator of national economy.”

By Park So-yeon [soyeon_park@joongang.co.kr]

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Source: Korea Productivity Center

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