One-third of respondents to the Colmar Brunton Customer
Experiences Survey said they have had a particularly good
experience when dealing with their bank in the past 12 months.
But one in five New Zealand consumers report having had a
negative experience when dealing with their telco provider in the
same period, with phone companies contributing one-third of all bad
customer experiences. In addition, particularly bad telco
experiences outnumber particularly good ones by four to one.
"Banks and airlines have done a great job of 'onlining' and
automating the service experience in a way that feels both personal
and customised," said Dick Brunton, the joint founder and current
chairman of Colmar Brunton.
"But businesses should be wary of going down the automation
track without considering how it feels to the consumer. Telcos are
widely criticised for automating their phone systems in a way that
is cold, impersonal and actually makes it harder for consumers to
interact with them."
Respondents cited the following Kiwi companies when asked to
name one business that they feel is the most dedicated to providing
the customer with the best possible service:
2. Air New Zealand
6. National Bank
7. New World
How companies handle the transition to online and telephone
customer service is increasingly key to how consumers perceive
them, Mr Brunton said. ASB has been a leader in this area and has
been first to establish the first virtual bank branch via Facebook,
through which a customer can book an appointment with a virtual
staff member online and have a web-based conversation.
There is also strong evidence that a customer-driven approach
is better for a company's bottom line than a purely profit driven
one. Brunton said that the world's best brand builders have a
relentless commitment to customer experience excellence.
"Organisations that authentically put the customer first build
more brand value for their shareholders than those who put
shareholders first," said Mr Brunton.
Overall the personal customer experience in New Zealand has
improved in the past five years. That's mainly because of a
significant reduction in negative customer experiences to 59 per
cent this year, from 72 per cent in 2006 when the survey was last
But a bad customer experience can still be dangerous to
corporate reputations and earnings; respondents are twice as likely
to tell others about a bad experience than a good one. They also
have more tools to do so with the proliferation of social
"The adoption of social media means that consumers are sharing
their experiences, good and bad, through a forum which lives on
well after the original incident has been forgotten," said Mr
Brunton. "The stories, and detail that respondents offered when
explaining their negative experiences, demonstrates a real viral
danger, as stories take on more meaning than the initial experience
as they are passed along.
"Still, New Zealanders are reasonably forgiving of a problem
with customer service, but what really matters to them is how it's
handled and resolved," said Mr Brunton. "In fact, pulling out all
the stops to remedy a situation is the biggest driver for great
Mr Brunton said that the survey shows that companies which make
the commitment can turn around their customer experience. Banks
this time around contributed 37 per cent of all particularly good
experiences cited by the survey respondents. But five years ago,
that figure was just 24 per cent.
Colmar Brunton's Distinctive Customer Experiences in New
Zealand study surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1020
New Zealanders aged 15 years and over. It was taken in July and
About Colmar Brunton
Colmar Brunton was started in 1981 by two Kiwis with a passion
for taking the consumers' voice into the boardroom. It is now New
Zealand's best known and most trusted market research company, with
offices in Auckland and Wellington, and employing some 250 staff.
Colmar Brunton is part of the global Millward Brown network
covering more than 51 countries around the world.
About Dick Brunton
Dick Brunton is co-founder of Colmar Brunton and currently its
Executive Chairman. Mr Brunton was inducted into the NZ Marketing
Hall of Fame in 2005 and became a Life Member of the Market
Research Society of NZ in 2009.