Customers in the grocery trade are, on average, the most satisfied with their store visits, but customer satisfaction has increased especially in the speciality and household goods trade after the pandemic. On average, the biggest improvements are in the hardware and clothing trade, and the three chains that have increased customer satisfaction the most since last year are RTV Yhtymä, Halonen and Kekäle.
The results can be seen in a study by the Finnish Commerce Federation and the Federation of Finnish Special Commodity Trade ETU, which describes customer satisfaction, service experience and other interaction situations between physical stores and customers with numerical indicators.*
Many of the companies that have improved customer satisfaction the most from last year are domestic.
“When domestic companies plan and target their services at local customers, they are able to compete with both foreign chains and e-commerce,” says Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist of the Finnish Commerce Federation.
Service experience determines customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is primarily influenced by the service experience, which includes the accessibility and cleanliness of the store as well as the customer’s service needs and practical service work in the store. Of all trade sectors, the best service experience for customers is provided by the grocery trade. The weakest service experience is provided by the interior decoration and furniture trade, where the accessibility of stores is perceived as more difficult than in other sectors, and the success of practical service work is weaker.
“One of the biggest elements of the grocery trade that provides a good service experience is a good location. In this, the grocery trade is superior to other trade sectors,” Kurjenoja estimates.
The specialty stores RTV Yhtymä, Carlson, Kekäle and Marimekko as well as the traditional department store Sokos improved their service experience the most from last year.
Although the service experience is important for customer satisfaction, it is also affected by the price experience, i.e. the price-quality ratio and price competitiveness.
“This year, the impact of the price experience on customer satisfaction has grown, and the service experience has decreased slightly, which was to be expected due to high inflation. Service experience still defines customer satisfaction more strongly than price experience,” Kurjenoja says.
Customer satisfaction creates loyalty
It is always smart to invest in customer satisfaction because satisfied customers are also loyal.
“Acquiring a new customer always costs the company more than keeping the old customer,” explains Kurjenoja.
Since the grocery trade has the most satisfied customers, average loyalty is also the highest there. However, the improved customer satisfaction in the specialty and household goods trade has strengthened customer loyalty in almost all specialty and household goods trade sectors.
Customer satisfaction also strengthens loyalty through the willingness to recommend. The more satisfied customers are, the more willing and committed they are to recommending the company.
“In addition to strengthening the customer’s own loyalty, recommendations are a valuable help for the company in acquiring new customers. Coming up with ways to seek customer recommendations is worthwhile,” Kurjenoja says.
Customer Satisfaction Index supports the development of commerce
Aalto University senior fellow Lasse Mitronen and Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist of the Finnish Commerce Federation, developed a model for measuring different aspects of customer satisfaction in 2018.
“The model examines the buying experience and customer satisfaction so that chains can evaluate themselves against competitors and develop their operations. This is how the whole industry develops,” says Lasse Mitronen, describing the purpose of the index model.
Last year, the Federation of Finnish Special Commodity Trade ETU also became involved in the implementation of the model, which has made it possible to increase the number of retail chains to be evaluated to 58 and the number of customer reviews to approximately 20,000.
“The Customer Satisfaction Index provides companies with the opportunity to assess the buying experience from the customer’s perspective. This is essential for the speciality goods trade operating in Finland to be successful in international competition,” says Ulla Pöllänen, Managing Director of the Federation of Finnish Special Commodity Trade ETU.
*The success of businesses in the trade is measured by six indices composed of 14 satisfaction indicators, such as the price-quality ratio, the success of practical service work and the desire to do business in the same store again. The index is based on 20,242 customer reviews from 58 physical retail chains. Kantar TNS was responsible for collecting customer reviews. The index model was developed by senior fellow Lasse Mitronen from Aalto University and the Finnish Commerce Federation’s Chief Economist Jaana Kurjenoja, who is also responsible for analysing the results.
Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)40 820 5378, jaana.kurjenoja(at)kauppa.fi
Lasse Mitronen, senior fellow, Aalto University, tel. 050 375 9015, lasse.mitronen(at)aalto.fi
Ulla Pöllänen, Managing Director, Federation of Finnish Special Commodity Trade ETU, tel. +358 (0)50 300 1660, ulla.pollanen(at)etu.fi
Asiakastyytyväisyys palveluihin Suomessa 2022