Romanian clients perceive their experience with companies as flat, survey says


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  • Romanian consumers perceive their experience with companies as flat, without any distinctive leaders, according to a McKinsey survey scanning six sectors (grocery retail, telecom, utilities, banking, insurance, and healthcare)
  • The results of the survey show the Retail sector scores the highest at 8.8/10, while the Utility sector the lowest at 8.0/10
  • A one-point improvement in customer experience on the scale leads to an approximately 20 percentage point increase in the customer’s propensity to spend
  • Aspiring companies could improve customer experience across two dimensions: prioritizing industry-specific customer experience drivers and digitize in a thoughtful, customer-centric manner.

Romanian customers perceive their experience with companies as flat, without clear leaders, according to a study conducted across six industries McKinsey & Company Romania in December 2020. On the other hand, a one-point improvement in customer experience can lead to an approximately 20 percentage point increase in the customer’s propensity to spend.

„Equally good, equally bad? The flat landscape of customer experience in Romania” – the local research conducted by McKinsey Romania – included six industries: grocery retail, telecom, utilities, insurance, and healthcare. The survey covered more than 2,000 Romanian customers.

Beyond deepening customer trust and loyalty, customer experience can generate a positive impact on costs for companies (for example, a 20-50 percent decrease in service costs) and an improvement in customer satisfaction (a 10 to 20 percent increase), according to the international study “The Three Building Blocks of Successful Customer-Experience Transformations“, conducted by McKinsey &Company in 2020.

Moreover, a one-point improvement in customer experience leads to an approximately 20 percentage point increase in Romanian customers’ propensity to spend, according to the study conducted by McKinsey Romania in December 2020. This is particularly relevant as Romanian consumers identify no clear leaders in customer experience across the market.

„When assessing the experience of customers in Romania, we validated that increased levels of satisfaction lead to higher levels of spend. Additionally, we confirmed a correlation between the market share of Romanian companies and the levels of perceived customer experience. Top quartile companies by market share also had the highest satisfaction levels, whereas the bottom quartile showed the lowest levels of satisfaction. The finding enforces the idea that any company eager to assert a leading position in their industry should consider improving customer experience as a critical business objective”, explained Alexandru Filip, Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company’s Bucharest Office.

The Romanian economy is expected to undergo significant changes in the following years, with the industries studied in this survey being at the forefront of this transformation.

  • Banks and insurance companies could improve their customers’ loyalty and increase the adoption of financial products among the population
  • Telecom companies could identify how to best use new technologies, such as 5G, to serve emerging or still unmet customer needs
  • Retailers may wish to respond to the growth of digital channels
  • Utilities could address the recent market liberalization
  • Healthcare providers could address the growing needs of the aging population and the public system’s limitations.

“Across these industries, customer experience will likely be a crucial and much-needed axis for growth, where leaders have yet to differentiate themselves. This pursuit of greater customer experience should have a positive impact not only on the individual companies’ commercial success but also on the Romanian consumer’s overall well-being and living standards”, added Alexandru Filip.

The study outlines two core opportunities:

  • Customer experience drivers. Companies should prioritize their efforts and invest in the most important drivers (i.e., Brand, Price, Customer service and Product) of customer experience relevant for each industry. More specifically, Brand was identified as the primary contributor for all industries, aside from Banking (where Product and Price rank higher) and Retail (where Product ranks higher).
  • Thoughtful digitization. The survey highlighted that, with the notable exception of banks, higher levels of digital engagement have not resulted in improved customer experience. For instance, interactions in Retail are predominantly non-digital yet the industry has a high level of customer satisfaction (8.8), whereas the opposite is true for Utilities (8.0). This finding stresses the importance of a thoughtful and integrated approach to digitalizing customer
    experience, that considers the distinct preferences of the Romanian population (e.g.,
    preferences in channel online vs in-person), such as an omnichannel approach.

Going beyond, a new horizon of opportunity is emerging for Romanian companies through ecosystems and partnerships. The survey confirms that approximately 80 percent of customers in Romania are
clients of two or more industries, which companies could use to move from individual offerings to
integrated cross-sectoral propositions. In practice, banks could serve their customers better and
further monetize their base by selling insurance, while retailers could be selling utility contracts and insurance companies could sell healthcare subscriptions.

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