Stories by Latoya Burnham
Lawyers and residential contractors have fallen in the bottom two areas of the private sector in the newest NISE study on Professional and General Services.
The latest study, conducted between January and April this year, showed lawyers scoring 68 per cent and residential building contractors pulling in 65 per cent customer satisfaction, which was still below their customer expectation ratings of 75 per cent for lawyers and 65 per cent for the contractors.
Chief Executive Officer of the National Initiative for Service Excellence, Kim Tudor, explained that this study examined beauty and personal care services, private doctors, contractors which exclusively dealt with small contractors, plumbers, electricians and other such workers, and lawyers.
On the customer satisfaction scale, the beauty and personal care professionals topped the chart with 90 per cent satisfaction, while private doctors scored 87 per cent, both above the mean average of 78 per cent. The results for both beauty and personal care and lawyers, was above customer expectations of 88 per cent and 86 per cent respectively.
“If you notice, the lowest expectation was for lawyers. So people go in not expecting as high a service from lawyers, even as from building contractors. However, they were still more satisfied with the lawyers than the contractors.”
The CEO explained that in breaking down the services of lawyers, they found the highest satisfaction among clients who required property interventions, which stood at 72 per cent, followed by family, 70 per cent; criminal, 68 per cent; other services, 68 per cent and non-contentious civil, 64 per cent.
In the building contractors services, satisfaction was highest among those requiring “other services” — 71 per cent, followed by home renovations, 68 per cent and new construction, 54 per cent.
However, she noted that while beauty and personal care professionals had the highest satisfaction, they had the second highest customer complaints — 13 per cent; behind that of the contractors, 23 per cent; lawyers, four per cent and doctors, three per cent.
“You are probably wondering why lawyers would have four per cent. Complaints take a bell-shaped curve. So you find people with high levels of satisfaction have low complaints, but people with very low levels of satisfaction will also have low complaints because it has come to the point where it is no point complaining. So the doctors will have a low complaint because they have good satisfaction, but lawyers will have low complaints because it is almost pointless sometimes because they think, when I go to the Bar Association to complain to lawyers for lawyers… that is why they tend to have a low score.”
When there were complaints, the study showed that 81 per cent of customers were very happy with the way their situation was handled by beauty and personal care professionals, while 50 per cent were very unhappy with the way the contractors handled their complaints; and overwhelming 67 per cent were unhappy with complaints handled about lawyers and 57 per cent were happy with those handled about doctors, while in that same category, doctors scored 43 per cent of customers unhappy with how their situation was handled.
Customer loyalty was highest among the care professionals and the doctors, 93 per cent and 90 per cent respectively; compared to 67 per cent and 61 per cent for lawyers and contractors, respectively.
When compared to other services thus far surveyed for overall customer satisfaction, among private sector industries, beauty and personal care and private doctors led the group, ahead of credit unions’ 82 per cent; 75 per cent for insurance; 71 for banks, lawyers’ 68 per cent; mobile 66 per cent; residential contractors 65 per cent; electricity 59 per cent; fixed line 58 per cent and Internet 52 per cent.
Among public sector agencies, the customer satisfaction rating for lawyers and contractors down the line behind the Barbados Postal Service, 80 per cent; Sanitation Service Authority, 73 per cent; Barbados Water Authority, 70 per cent; and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, 69 per cent; with the National Insurance Department coming in between with 66 per cent. Again, beauty and professional care and private doctors led satisfaction in these areas.
Finally, when compared to the UK, the personal care services were on par, with the UK having a satisfaction rating of 87 per cent to Barbados’ 90; lawyers were behind the UK’s 79 per cent in that category and also behind UK contractors’ 84 per cent. (LB)