NWC emerges as best service provider in 2020Wednesday, August 04, 2021
BY ANDREW LAIDLEY
The National Water Commission (NWC) emerged the top service provider for 2020 in the annual Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) mystery shopping study.
The study, which started in 2018, represents an anonymous customer experience using different modalities like in-store visits, telephone calls to call centres and online chats. Market Research Services was contracted to conduct the study. The period of investigation spanned September 2020 to January 2021.
The study involved four service providers, two telecoms companies namely Flow and Digicel and two utility companies — Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) and NWC.
“Flow achieved an overall score of 70 per cent, Digicel 68 per cent, JPS 76 per cent and NWC came out the winner this year with an overall score of 80 per cent,” said Kishka-Kaye O'Connor Anderson, chief operating officer of Market Research Services, who revealed the mystery shopping results.
The average score across all service providers was 74 per cent, an improvement over the 2019 study. But some improved more than others. In fact, NWC reported the largest percentage increase in terms of its service score.
Anderson highlighted that the online chat modality played a significant role in the 2020 results. She said this was the first year online chat was used in the study.
“When we look at the results, if we should take out the scores obtained in online chat rooms what you would have found is that Flow would have made no improvement since 2019. Digicel would have been down by two percentage points, JPS would have gained two percentage points and NWC would have been up by 12 percentage points,” Anderson noted.
The study also revealed that customers were less likely to have a good experience in store.
“Overall, service providers delivered a much better customer experience in the call centre than in-store for an average score of 76 per cent,” continued Anderson.
Digicel recorded the lowest score in the in-store service area with 57 per cent. But the telecoms provider copped the second best service performance in the online chat area with 91 per cent.
The top performer in the online chat service area was NWC with an almost perfect score of 98 per cent. Anderson noted that “online chat was, by far, the best-performing service modality with an overall score of 88 per cent”.
The study also revealed that service delivery was pretty much the same in-peak and off-peak period, except for NWC which offered better service in the off-peak period.
When it comes to COVID-19 measures in-store, JPS stood out with an 80 per cent score. Flow received the lowest score in this area at 66 per cent.
In terms of recommendations, Anderson is suggesting that more attention be given to the service delivery in stores where just about all service providers were weakest.
“With regards to telecoms, their service delivery in terms of Internet should be the main area of focus. In particular, equipping their customer service representatives (CSRs) to answer questions regarding the time frame for the availability of service,” said Anderson.
In the case of the utilities, she said, “access to managers and supervisors, when needed, ought to be the main area of focus. Performance in the area of offering payment plans to customers by the utilities also underperformed when compared to other areas”.
She also noted that “service for the disabled needs to be looked into by all service providers. However, the utilities especially underperformed in this area”.
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