Choices galore!

LMD’s exclusive online survey features Sri Lanka’s most popular service providers

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”
Bill Gates

The COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of living crises have reshaped expectations of what ‘customer service’ really means. These disruptors have urged businesses to reconsider traditional service operations, and pivot to a customer experience that is better adapted to current expectations, needs and trends.

Interactions between customers and sales representatives have challenged businesses to be creative as well as very responsive, and many corporates have employed a variety of techniques to remain connected to and strengthen ties with consumers – even after the lockdowns were relaxed – to better align themselves with habits of interaction formed in recent years.

Modes of accessing goods and services, and service levels, have to be and must be revamped if businesses are to remain relevant and retain customer engagement.

KPMG notes on its website: “The traditional front office functions are gone, upended by empowered ‘connected customers’ with increased expectations. To deliver, the service function must evolve from its reactionary role into an anticipatory one, enabled by predictive analytics and new capabilities to create a proactive readiness in a connected enterprise.”

The multinational professional services firm also avers that “this approach calls for data harvesting to provide granular insights from customer channels and purchase interactions to identify service vulnerabilities before they rebound as inbound complaints. Future-state metrics may even look to measure incidents avoided rather than incidents resolved.”

“Traditional customer service wastes resources, time and money by reacting to concerns rather than anticipating them. Customer service needs to move beyond the ‘call centre’ operations of the past to a virtual ecosystem of digital and human assistants,” it observes, anticipating the move of customer service interactions to being handled by AI.

THE ONLINE SURVEY conducted an online survey to ascertain satisfaction levels of customers in the local context. In this way, it hoped to identify the most popular service providers. The survey encompassed 22 categories including airlines, banks, hospitals, grocery stores and hotels.

SERVICE EXCELLENCE ODEL is once again the retailer that offers the best customer service in the clothing and accessories category with Cool Planet, NOLIMIT, KANDY and Thilakawardhana completing the top five.

Of the home and kitchenware stores, Sin-ger (Sri Lanka) takes the lead from Arpico and Abans occupies third place.

The most popular supermarkets remain Keells, Cargills and SPAR with Glomark advan-cing over Arpico to fourth place. Interes-tingly, in the online stores (food and grocery) space Keells takes the top spot too, and Daraz and Uber complete the top three.

For luxury items, Vogue Jewellers, followed by Raja Jewellers and Swarnamahal Jewellers, continue to be rated as providing the best service in the jewellery milieu; and for services in luxury watches, Wimaladharma Brothers nabs first place from W. A. De Silva.

Of the spas and wellness centres, the best three in Sri Lanka for service excellence are Spa Ceylon, Siddhalepa Ayurveda Spa and Lotus Wellness SPA.

Meanwhile, the top five hospitals considered to provide the best service to customers are Asiri Health, Lanka Hospitals, Nawaloka Hospitals, Durdans and Hemas Hospitals.

LMD’s survey encompassed telcos, and the top three most service oriented are Dialog, SLT-Mobitel and Airtel. In the airlines cate-gory, the national carrier SriLankan Airlines takes the lead over Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific Airways.

Despite fiscal headwinds, Seylan Bank has held onto the top spot from 2021 with Commercial Bank of Ceylon and Sampath Bank number two and three respectively in the banks category.

Kudos to Ceylinco Life, which once more tops the life insurance rankings; and to Ceylinco General Insurance, which remains the favourite choice for generalinsurance.

Sri Lanka has no shortage of hotels and in this competitive category, service at the iconic Heritance Kandalama is considered top notch followed by Cinnamon Bey Beruwala and Double Tree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort.

As top spots for food, survey participants picked Chinese Dragon Café and Oakray Flo-wer Drum as their top two restaurants.

Pronto Lanka has taken over from DHL Keells in the delivery services segment while Uber has been unseated to second place by PickMe as the taxi service with the best customer centricity.

Daraz maintains the top spot for its service in the online stores (shopping) category.