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S. Korea edges rivals in customer satisfaction

NCSIs around the world. (Korea Productivity Center)
NCSIs around the world. (Korea Productivity Center)
South Korea consumers were found to be more satisfied with local goods and services on average last year than their peers in the US, Japan and Singapore, according to the National Consumer Satisfaction Index annually published by the Korea Productivity Center.

The index -- an indicator of not only user satisfaction but economic performance of companies, government agencies and the macroeconomy as a whole -- is adopted by a little over 30 countries globally, which use the same metrics to identify sectors and industries that do well or need improvement.

In 2021, South Korea’s NCSI score was 78.1 points, slightly higher than 73.7 points from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index. South Korea did better than the US in nine out of 10 comparable economic sectors.

Those sectors include government services involving defense and social security, health care and social services, information and communication services, financial and insurance services and wholesale and retail services.

The one sector Korea fell behind in consumer satisfaction was nondurable goods.

By industry, Korea scored better than the US in 29 industries, worse in four industries and about the same in four industries. Telecommunications and health care services were the industries where Korea outcompeted the US by a huge gap.

South Korea’s NCSI was generally higher than the Japanese Customer Satisfaction Index.

Mobile service showed the highest gap of 15.2 points between the two peoples’ satisfaction, with the Korea Productivity Center saying high charges in Japan could have played a role in the index. Korea also led Japan in industries such as banks, brokerages, insurances and credit cards.

Also, Korea outranked Singapore in the satisfaction scores for 15 industries.

Internet services drove the gap in satisfaction levels, with Korea scoring 13.7 points higher than Singapore in internet television service, followed by high-speed internet service, mobile service and e-commerce, supermarkets, credit cards and insurance.

Modeled after the ACSI developed by the University of Michigan, the NCSI was launched in 1998 and has since worked to encourage companies and the government to offer better goods and services.

The satisfaction levels, measured by in-person interviews, gauge the health of the economy according to the Korea Productivity Center.

“The NCSI intertwines with economic achievement. The index encourages companies to expand investment even as the economic activity slows, for gains coming later,” CEO Ahn Wan-gi said.

“We will do our part to make the index a precursor to the stock market and the unemployment rate,” Ahn added, offering data that showed higher satisfaction levels coinciding with a market rally and a dipping unemployment rate.

By Korea Herald (khnews@heraldcorp.com)
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