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CONSUMER SATISFACTION SURVEY

FINAL REPORT
May 2007
BY
IPSOS INRA
for
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Health & Consumer Protection
Directorate - General
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Table of Contents
Executive Summary ............................................................................. 8
A. GENERAL INTRODUCTION ...............................................................19
1. Context and objectives of the consumer satisfaction survey.....................19
2. Methodology ..............................................................................21
3. Satisfaction indicators ..................................................................23
3.1. Defining Consumer Satisfaction Indicators ....................................23
3.2. Structure of the final report.....................................................29
B. DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF THE SURVEY RESULTS ...................................30
1. Electricity supply ........................................................................30
1.1. Overall results .....................................................................30
1.2. Differences between EU Member States.......................................31
1.3. Differences by socio-economic group ..........................................33
1.4. Other key observations arising from the survey..............................34
1.5. Advanced analyses ................................................................35
2. Gas supply.................................................................................40
2.1. Overall results .....................................................................40
2.2. Differences between EU Member States.......................................41
2.3. Differences by socio-economic group ..........................................43
2.4. Other key observations arising directly from the survey ...................44
2.5. Advanced analyses ................................................................45
3. Water distribution .......................................................................50
3.1. Overall results .....................................................................50
3.2. Differences between EU Member States.......................................51
3.3. Differences by socio-economic group ..........................................53
3.4. Other key observations resulting directly from the survey.................54
3.5. Advanced analyses ................................................................55
4. Fixed telephone service ................................................................59
4.1. Overall results .....................................................................59
4.2. Differences between EU Member States.......................................60
4.3. Differences by socio-economic group ..........................................62
4.4. Other key observations arising directly from the survey ...................63
4.5. Advanced analyses ................................................................64
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5. Mobile phone service ....................................................................68
5.1. Overall results .....................................................................68
5.2. Differences between EU Member States.......................................69
5.3. Differences by socio-economic group ..........................................70
5.4. Other key observations arising directly from the survey ...................71
5.5. Advanced analyses ................................................................73
6. Urban transport ..........................................................................77
6.1 Overall results .....................................................................77
6.2. Differences between EU Member States.......................................78
6.3. Differences by socio-economic group ..........................................80
6.4. Other key observations arising directly from the survey ...................81
6.5. Advanced analyses ................................................................82
7. Extra-urban transport ...................................................................87
7.1. Overall results .....................................................................87
7.2. Differences between EU Member States.......................................88
7.3. Differences by socio-economic group ..........................................90
7.4. Other key observations arising directly from the survey ...................91
7.5. Advanced analyses ................................................................93
8. Air transport ..............................................................................97
8.1. Overall results .....................................................................97
8.2. Differences between EU Member States.......................................98
8.3. Differences by socio-economic characteristics ............................. 100
8.4. Other key observations arising directly from the survey ................. 101
8.5. Advanced analyses .............................................................. 102
9. Postal services.......................................................................... 106
9.1. Overall results ................................................................... 106
9.2. Differences between EU Member States..................................... 107
9.3. Differences by socio-economic characteristics ............................. 108
9.4. Other key observations arising directly from the survey ................. 109
9.5. Advanced analyses .............................................................. 110
10. Retail banking .......................................................................... 114
10.1. Overall results.................................................................. 114
10.2. Differences between EU Member States ................................... 115
10.3. Differences by socio-economic characteristics ........................... 116
10.4. Other key observations arising directly from the survey ................ 117
10.5. Advanced analyses............................................................. 118
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11. Insurance services ..................................................................... 122
11.1. Overall results.................................................................. 122
11.2. Differences between EU Member States ................................... 123
11.3. Differences by socio-economic characteristics ........................... 125
11.4. Other key observations resulting directly from the survey ............. 126
11.5. Advanced analyses............................................................. 127
C. DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF THE SURVEY RESULTS BY
COUNTRY ................ 131
1. EU25 ..................................................................................... 132
2. Austria ................................................................................... 133
3. Belgium.................................................................................. 134
4. Cyprus ................................................................................... 135
5. Czech Republic ......................................................................... 136
6. Denmark................................................................................. 137
7. Estonia................................................................................... 138
8. Germany................................................................................. 139
9. Greece ................................................................................... 140
10. Finland................................................................................... 141
11. France ................................................................................... 142
12. Hungary.................................................................................. 143
13. Ireland ................................................................................... 144
14. Italy ...................................................................................... 145
15. Latvia .................................................................................... 146
16. Lithuania ................................................................................ 147
17. Luxembourg............................................................................. 148
18. Malta ..................................................................................... 149
19. Netherlands ............................................................................. 150
20. Poland ................................................................................... 151
21. Portugal ................................................................................. 152
22. Slovakia.................................................................................. 153
23. Slovenia ................................................................................. 154
24. Spain ..................................................................................... 155
25. Sweden .................................................................................. 156
26. United Kingdom ........................................................................ 157
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D. OVERALL FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS...................................... 158
1. Consumers’ overall satisfaction ..................................................... 158
1.1. Average score .................................................................... 158
1.2. Percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers ...................... 159
2. Criteria that contribute to consumers’ overall satisfaction .................... 161
2.1. Consumers’ satisfaction with quality, pricing and image................. 161
2.2. The relative importance of Quality, Pricing and Image in consumers’
overall satisfaction with SGIs.................................................. 161
3. Differences between EU Member States ........................................... 163
3.1. Differences between EU15 and NMS10 countries........................... 163
3.2. Differences between individual Member States ............................ 164
4. Other key findings ..................................................................... 168
4.1. The socio-economic characteristics of consumers ......................... 168
4.2. Market issues ..................................................................... 169
4.3. Opportunities for priority actions ............................................ 170
5. Recommendations ..................................................................... 172
5.1. Questionnaire and survey design ............................................. 172
5.2. Areas for further research ..................................................... 173
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Table of graphs
EL. 1 Electricity supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006) ........ 30
EL. 2 Electricity supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................. 31
EL. 3 Electricity supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category –
percentage (2006) .................................................................................................. 33
EL. 4 Two-dimensional analysis -
Electricity .......................................................................... 37
GAS. 1 Gas supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006) ................. 40
GAS. 2 Gas supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006) .. 41
GAS. 3 Gas supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-economic
category –
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................. 43
GAS. 4 Two-dimensional analysis -
Gas .................................................................................. 47
WAT. 1 Water distribution: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers -
percentages (2006) ..... 50
WAT. 2 Water distribution: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country
-
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................. 51
WAT. 3 Water supply: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................. 53
WAT. 4 Two-dimensional analysis –
Water ............................................................................... 56
FT. 1 Fixed telephony: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006) ......... 59
FT. 2 Fixed telephone: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................. 60
FT. 3 Fixed telephony: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic
category - percentages (2006).................................................................................... 62
FT. 4 Two-Dimensional analysis – Fixed
telephone .................................................................. 65
MP. 1 Mobile phone: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006)............. 68
MP. 2 Mobile phone: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................. 69
MP. 3 Mobile phone: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic
category - percentages (2006)................................................................................... 70
MP. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Mobile
phone...................................................................... 74
UT. 1 Urban transport: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006) ......... 77
UT. 2 Urban transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................. 78
UT. 3 Urban transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic
category - percentages (2006).................................................................................... 80
UT. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Urban
transport................................................................... 84
EUT. 1 Extra-urban transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers -
percentages (2006). 87
EUT. 2 Extra-urban transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by
country -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................. 88
EUT. 3 Extra-urban transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic
category - percentages (2006).................................................................................... 90
EUT. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Extra-urban
transport ........................................................... 94
AT. 1 Air transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006) ............ 97
AT. 2 Air transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................. 98
AT. 3 Air transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................ 100
AT. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Air
transport...................................................................... 103
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PS. 1 Postal services: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006)......... 106
PS. 2 Postal services: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages
(2006)................................................................................................................. 107
PS. 3 Postal services: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic
category - percentages (2006)................................................................................... 108
PS. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Postal
services ................................................................... 111
RB. 1 Retail banking: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006) ......... 114
RB. 2 Retail banking: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................ 115
RB. 3 Retail banking: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................ 116
RB. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Retail
banking.................................................................... 119
INS. 1 Insurance: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages (2006)
............... 122
INS. 2 Insurance: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006). 123
INS. 3 Insurance: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-economic
category -
percentages (2006) ................................................................................................ 125
INS. 4 Two-dimensional analysis -
Insurance.......................................................................... 128
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Executive Summary
1. CONTEXT
In 2003 and 2004 a pilot study on consumer satisfaction was carried out by INRA and
Deloitte for the Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General of the European
Commission. This aim of the study was to develop a methodology for producing
consumer
satisfaction indicators in the European Union and to carry out a pilot survey. In 2005, the
European Commission’s Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General launched
a
call for tender to prepare, implement and analyse an EU-wide consumer satisfaction
survey
using the methodology developed during the pilot study. INRA, which has become part
of
the Ipsos Group, was given this assignment together with Deloitte and some independent
experts.
The consumer satisfaction survey was held in all of the 25 countries that were members
of
the European Union at that time and covered 11 ‘services of general interest’:
- Electricity Supply
- Gas Supply
- Water Distribution
- Fixed Telephony
- Mobile Telephony
- Urban Transport
- Extra-Urban Transport
- Air Transport
- Postal Services
- Retail Banking
- Insurance Services.
2. A ROBUST METHODOLOGY
The questionnaire used for the pilot survey was slightly changed in line with the
recommendations of the pilot study itself and the Commission’s requirement for the
survey
to be based on face-to-face rather than telephone interviews. With the assistance of a
Scientific Committee, the survey was designed so that it would guarantee a sufficiently
large sample size per service to run the satisfaction model whilst at the same time staying
within the agreed budget.
For the purposes of the survey, ‘consumers’ were defined as “people (18+) having used
the
service in the past 12 months”. ‘Satisfaction’ was defined as “the consumer’s assessment
of a product or service in terms of the extent to which that product or service has met
his/her needs or expectations”. Consumer satisfaction was measured both directly
(‘observed satisfaction’) and after the responses to specific questions were statistically
processed (‘calculated satisfaction’). The model developed during the pilot study allowed
us to gain an understanding of the factors that contributed most to consumer
(dis)satisfaction for each of the services.
A robust and homogeneous methodology was used across countries and services,
including
over 29,000 interviews in the 25 EU member states. There were on average 500
interviews
per service and country. The interviews were face-to-face, took place at the respondents’
homes, lasted 45 to 60 minutes each and covered 4 to 5 different services per respondent.
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3. EUROPEAN CONSUMERS ARE FAIRLY SATISFIED WITH
SERVICES OF GENERAL INTEREST
Overall, European consumers appear to be fairly satisfied with services of general
interest.
For each service surveyed they gave an average score (on a scale from 1 to 10) ranging
from 7.04 for Urban Transport to 7.96 for Air Transport, as can be seen in the table
below:
Average score
Air Transport 7.96
Mobile Telephony 7.91
Insurance services 7.92
Retail Banking 7.82
Water Distribution 7.73
Gas supply 7.64
Electricity supply 7.61
Postal Services 7.42
Fixed Telephony 7.30
Extra Urban Transport 7.05
Urban Transport 7.04
If consumers give a service a score of 8, it usually means that they are very satisfied with
it. Therefore, looking at the average scores obtained for each service, it is fair to say that:
- European consumers are particularly satisfied with air transport, mobile telephony,
insurance services and retail banking
- European consumers are less satisfied (or are more ‘neutral’ in their opinion) with
utility services (gas, electricity, water)
- They are least satisfied with extra-urban and urban transport.
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4. CONSUMERS IN THE EU25 ARE LEAST SATISFIED WITH
URBAN AND EXTRA-URBAN TRANSPORT
Another way of looking at overall satisfaction is to calculate the proportions of ‘satisfied
consumers’ and ‘dissatisfied consumers’. ‘Satisfied consumers’ are people who gave the
service a rating of 8, 9 or 10 while “dissatisfied consumers” are people who gave the
service a rating of 4 or less.
The proportions of satisfied consumers are displayed in the following graph:
66.1 65.9
64.4
63.1
60.2
57.9 57.6
52.9 52
45.6
44.5
Air transport Mobile
phone
Insurances Banking
retail
Water Gas Electricity Postal
services
Fixed phone Extra-urban
transport
Urban
transport
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your supplier?
% satisfied customers - EU25
The majority of EU consumers said they were satisfied with most of the services
surveyed,
especially with air transport, mobile telephony, insurance services and retail banking. The
only exceptions are urban and extra-urban transport: less than 5 consumers out of 10 said
that they were satisfied with them.
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A third way of looking at overall satisfaction is displaying the proportion of dissatisfied
consumers:
10.3
9.4
8.4
6.9
5.4
5.3
4.6
4.4
4.1
3.5
3
Extra-urban
transport
Urban
transport
Fixed phone Postal
services
Water Electricity Banking
retail
Gas Mobile
phone
Air transport Insurances
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your supplier?
% dissatisfied customers - EU25
While EU consumers are least satisfied with urban and extra-urban transport, only 10%
of
them said that they were dissatisfied with both services.
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5. PRICE IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR EU CONSUMERS
EU consumers were asked to evaluate each service according to three criteria: Quality,
Image and Pricing. For each of these three criteria, they were asked to say whether they
agreed or not (by giving a score from 1 to 10) with a list of statements.
The following table shows the average satisfaction scores for each criterion and each
service.
Service Quality Pricing Image
Mobile Telephony 8.1 7.5 8.0
Retail Banking 8.0 7.3 7.8
Air Transport 8.0 7.6 7.9
Insurance 8.0 7.4 7.8
Gas Supply 7.8 6.4 7.3
Postal Services 7.3 6.8 7.2
Water Distribution 7.6 6.8 7.4
Fixed Telephony 7.5 6.7 7.2
Electricity Supply 7.7 6.6 7.4
Extra Urban Transport 7.0 6.5 6.8
Urban Transport 7.0 6.6 6.9
Overall, EU consumers tend to be more satisfied with the quality of service offered than
the image of the service provider and the prices offered by their provider.
However, advanced statistical analyses show that pricing tends to be the main element
that determines the extent to which consumers are satisfied with a service. This is the
case in 6 out of 11 services surveyed i.e. insurance, electricity supply, retail banking,
fixed
telephony, mobile telephony and water distribution. In other words, for these services,
reducing prices would have the greatest impact on overall consumer satisfaction. Trying
to
improve consumer satisfaction with a better quality service would have less of an impact
on overall satisfaction.
On the other hand, image is the key factor that determines consumer satisfaction for
service providers for postal services, urban transport and extra-urban transport. In other
words, consumers who believe their supplier has a negative image will tend to be less
satisfied than those who believe their supplier has a positive image.
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6. COMPARISON OF COUNTRY RESULTS
A majority of EU25 consumers (more than 50%) are satisfied with 9 out of the 11 SGIs
evaluated, especially air transport, mobile phone, insurance, retail banking and water
distribution services. Consumers are least satisfied with extra-urban (45.6%) and urban
transport (44.5%) services.
Results diverging from the EU average are found below:
Austria
Austrians tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all 11 services evaluated.
They tend also to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with all these services.
Belgium
Consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with retail banking, mobile
phone, insurance, electricity, gas, water, fixed phone and urban and extra-urban transport
and less satisfied with air transport and postal services. They tend to be less dissatisfied
than the EU average with all the 11 services.
Cyprus
Consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all the services, except
urban transport (23% of satisfied against 44.5% at the EU level). They tend to be more
dissatisfied than the EU average with urban transport (53.8% of dissatisfied against 9.4%
at
the EU level).
Czech Republic
Consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with air transport, mobile
phone,
retail banking and gas distribution and less satisfied with fixed phone. They tend to be
more dissatisfied than the EU average with all the services except mobile phone.
Denmark
Danes tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with the three utilities (water,
electricity and gas), insurance, retail banking, mobile phone and fixed phone and less
satisfied with extra-urban services. They tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU average
with postal services, urban and extra-urban transport.
Estonia
Consumers in Estonia tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with retail banking,
mobile phone, electricity, postal services, fixed phone, insurance, gas distribution, urban
and extra-urban transport and less satisfied with water distribution. They tend to be more
dissatisfied than the EU average with water distribution and less dissatisfied with
extraurban transport.
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Germany
German consumers are most satisfied than the EU average with all the services except
extra-urban transport. They tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU average extra-urban
transport and less dissatisfied with fixed phone.
Greece
In Greece, consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with gas distribution,
air transport, mobile phone, postal services, insurance and extra-urban transport and less
satisfied with electricity and fixed phone. They tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU
average with water and electricity distribution and less dissatisfied with postal services
and extra-urban transport.
Finland
Finns tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all SGIs. In addition, they tend
to
be less dissatisfied than the EU average with urban and extra-urban transport and fixed
phone.
France
French consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with extra-urban
transport and less satisfied air transport, retail banking, mobile phone, water distribution
and postal services. They tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with extra-
urban
transport.
Hungary
Hungarians tend to be more satisfied than the EU25 average with almost all SGIs except
with urban transport (37.7% against a EU25 average of 44.5%). However, they tend to be
more dissatisfied than the EU average with electricity, insurance, gas, urban and
extraurban transport.
Ireland
Consumers are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed, except
with
Air transport (where the proportion of satisfied is equal to the EU average). They tend to
be less dissatisfied than the EU average with postal services, fixed phone, urban and
extraurban transport.
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Italy
Italians tend to be less satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs. They tend to be
more dissatisfied than the EU average with urban and extra-urban transport, postal
services and fixed phone.
Latvia
Latvians tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs, except with
water distribution (50.5% are satisfied against 60.2% at the EU level). They tend to be
more
dissatisfied than the EU average with water distribution and less dissatisfied with urban
and extra-urban transport and fixed phone.
Lithuania
Lithuanians are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed, except
with
water distribution (where the proportion of satisfied is equal to the EU average). They
tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with gas and electricity distribution, retail
banking, postal services, air transport, insurance, fixed phone and extra-urban transport
but are more dissatisfied with water distribution.
Luxembourg
Consumers are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed, except
with
mobile phone and air transport (where the proportions of satisfied are in line with the EU
average). They tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with water, electricity and
gas distribution, fixed phone, postal services and extra-urban transport.
Malta
Consumers in Malta tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with mobile phone,
retail banking, fixed phone, insurance and postal services and tend to be less satisfied
with
water and electricity distribution and urban transport. They tend to be less dissatisfied
than the EU average with fixed phone and more dissatisfied with insurance, water and
electricity distribution and urban transport.
Netherlands
Just as with Italy, Dutch consumers tend to be less satisfied than the EU average with all
the SGIs. However, they also tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with water
distribution, air transport, postal services, insurance, fixed phone, urban and extra-urban
transport.
Poland
In Poland, consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with postal services
and insurance and tend to be less satisfied with fixed phone and urban transport. They
tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with air transport and tend to be more
dissatisfied with fixed phone.
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Portugal
Portuguese consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with postal services
and extra-urban transport and tend to be less satisfied with water, gas and electricity
distribution, insurance and fixed phone. They tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU
average with postal services, retail banking, air transport and urban/extra-urban transport
and they tend to be more dissatisfied with water and electricity distribution and fixed
phone.
Slovakia
Slovaks tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with mobile phone and postal
services and tend to be less satisfied with insurance, water, electricity and gas
distribution, urban and extra-urban transport. In addition, they tend to be more
dissatisfied than the EU average with air transport, insurance, water, electricity and gas
distribution and urban and extra-urban transport.
Slovenia
Consumers are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed, except
with
urban transport (where the proportion of satisfied is in line with the EU average). In
addition, they tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with electricity and gas
distribution and postal services.
Spain
Spaniards tend to be less satisfied than the EU average with insurance, retail banking,
postal, gas, water and electricity distribution, air transport, mobile phone, fixed phone
and urban transport. In addition, they tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with
postal services and extra-urban transport but tend to be more dissatisfied with air
transport and mobile phone.
Sweden
Consumers are more satisfied than the EU average with water distribution, retail banking,
gas, mobile phone, fixed phone and extra-urban transport and tend to be less satisfied
with air transport and postal services. They also tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU
average with water and gas distribution and retail banking but tend to be more dissatisfied
electricity, postal services and urban transport.
United Kingdom
Consumers in the UK tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with fixed phone,
retail banking and extra-urban transport services. In addition, they tend to be less
dissatisfied than the EU average with fixed phone and extra-urban transport.
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7. EU CONSUMERS FACE DIFFICULTIES WHEN IT COMES TO
CHANGING SERVICE PROVIDER
Overall, a large proportion of EU consumers (more than 5 out of 6) think that they will
stay
with their current provider for the next 12 months. This is the case for most of the sectors,
except for air transport and fixed telephony, where 3 consumers out of 4 think that they
will stay with their current provider for the next 12 months.
Even in markets where there is more than one provider, changing from one supplier to
another is often difficult. The only exceptions are in fixed telephony, mobile telephony,
retail banking, insurance and especially air transport services. In these cases, at least 2
EU
consumers out of 3 who can choose between at least 2 providers state that is easy to
change.
Buying services from another country is only considered possible and even of potential
interest in the case of air transport (4 consumers out 5), and, to a lesser extent, retail
banking and mobile telephone services (48% and 41% respectively).
A very large majority of users prefer to deal with a national supplier (more than 90% of
consumers). This is less the case for air transport services (60%).
8. PRIORITY ACTIONS SHOULD FOCUS ON PRICING
Pricing
As mentioned earlier, pricing issues are major factors determining consumer satisfaction
for most of the services surveyed.
Among these components, price levels are identified as the main issue in all the services.
Consumers tend to think they pay too much for services of general interest.
In addition, EU25 consumers tend to think that suppliers do not offer enough by way of
special tariffs for specific target groups or specific usage.
Actions designed to increase consumer satisfaction should therefore focus on these
price components for maximum effect.
Image
Consumer satisfaction with urban transport, extra-urban transport and postal services is
mostly influenced by the image their supplier has on the market. More specifically, in
these sectors, elements such as the reputation of the supplier, its willingness to put the
client first and its flexibility are of great importance for consumers.
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Quality
Quality of service is the element that has the least influence on overall consumer
satisfaction and yet people are most satisfied with this element when evaluating SGIs.
This
statement tends to prove that consumers take quality of service for granted.
Consequently, long-term actions are appropriate in this area. Making the consumers
aware of the quality of the services they are using could improve satisfaction with these
services in the long term.
Urban and extra-urban transport
Urban and extra-urban transport are clearly the services with which consumers are least
satisfied. Moreover, this observation applies to almost all the countries.
Actions to improve satisfaction could target the maintenance of transport networks and
vehicles, reliability of the services (frequency of service, punctuality, etc.) and the way
the problems and questions raised by consumers are handled.
9. RECOMMENDATIONS
Overall, the questionnaire and design of this survey appears to be robust. The
questionnaire survey and the underlying model and methodology could be used without
major changes for future surveys.
One hypothesis that emerges from the results of this survey is that consumer satisfaction
in
certain services – e.g. air transport, retail banking - is affected by the extent to which
people are familiar with the internet (since those who are may benefit more from certain
services). In order to test this hypothesis, a question on this topic might be included in
future surveys.
With the current survey approach, an analysis of complaints is difficult to carry
out
because of the low number of complaints made by the respondents. Since the option of
much larger sample sizes is likely to be rejected due to cost implications, this issue may
have to be dealt with in another way, e.g. by asking other types of related questions for
which the response rates are likely to be higher.
Further investigation would need to be done to see whether there is a link between
consumer satisfaction and the extent to which a sector has been liberalised.
An interesting exercise would be to examine whether any form of statistical clustering of
countries and/or services makes sense. This would allow the Commission to answer the
question as to where particular consumers have similar attitudes across sectors and
countries. It might even lead to the definition of a typology for EU consumers. This could
help in predicting consumer behaviour towards changes in market structures and service
offers.
A final thought is that the way the survey and model has been constructed allows for its
extension into other services and also the retailing of consumer goods. If the Commission
were to consider the inclusion of new service categories in the future, a small preliminary
study and small pilot survey could be undertaken in order to design and test the survey
questions that should be included in the questionnaire.
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A. GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1. Context and objectives of the consumer
satisfaction survey
Services of General Interest (SGIs) are of great importance in achieving the fundamental
objectives of the European Union. The provision of high quality, accessible and
affordable
services of general interest meeting the needs of consumers is essential for the social and
economic inclusion of all EU citizens and the territorial integrity of the EU. Therefore,
understanding EU citizens’ perceptions of SGIs and the problems they have experienced
with SGIs through various studies and opinion surveys is one of the priorities of the
Commission and in particular of the Directorate-General Health and Consumer Protection
(DG SANCO).
Indeed, DG SANCO has been building up an 'evidence base' regarding services of
general
interest in order to improve policymaking and integrate consumer concerns into other EU
policies. In addition, data facilitates the monitoring and evaluation of EU and national
policies. For this purpose, DG SANCO has been carrying out regular quantitative surveys
(e.g. Eurobarometers) and qualitative studies (e.g. focus groups) to measure consumer
satisfaction with services of general interest. Qualitative studies are organised in
connection with issues raised in Eurobarometers in order to have a better understanding
of
consumers’ views and cross-check Eurobarometer results. Data related to services of
general interest are also made available in the publication entitled ‘Consumers in Europe
-
Facts and Figures’. A special edition of ‘Consumers in Europe - Facts and Figures’,
devoted
to Services of General Interest, is to be published in 2007.
In 2003, DG SANCO launched an open call for tender on the ‘Development of consumer
satisfaction indicators; pilot survey on consumer satisfaction’. Together with Deloitte,
INRA won this call. The assignment had three objectives:
o To develop a methodology for the construction of consumer satisfaction indicators
in the European Union. This methodology had to be practical and have a sound
scientific basis, reflecting recent insights into consumer satisfaction and its
measurement;
o To develop and carry out a pilot survey based on the proposed methodology. The
purpose of this pilot survey was to test the methodology and its underlying
modelling and to propose a preliminary set of indicators;
o To analyse the outcomes of the pilot survey in order to indicate possible
adaptations to the methodology developed in the first stage.
INRA and Deloitte developed an appropriate survey framework (e.g. questionnaires,
population and sampling, survey methods, etc.) and proposed statistical methods to be
used and methods for calculating and presenting the consumer satisfaction indicators.
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20 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
Another open call for tender was launched in 2004 to prepare, implement and analyse the
consumer satisfaction survey using the methodology developed during the first
assignment.
INRA (now Ipsos Belgium), which had become part of the Ipsos Group, won the
contract. In
order to gather the most effective resources for this contract, Ipsos decided to continue its
partnership with Deloitte, which acted as policy analysts and advisers and selected two
independent experts to work on the pilot survey: Dominique Vanmarsenille and Professor
Vanhoof (Hasselt University).
The survey outcomes should serve as a tool to support EU consumer policy-making in
SGIs.
The satisfaction indicators that were developed are sector-based and should enable DG
SANCO to:
o understand how consumers perceive certain SGIs, what their main requirements are
and how key service areas meet their expectations;
o benchmark performance amongst EU member states within particular SGIs;
o benchmark the performance of SGIs within a specific country or at the EU level;
o identify priorities for improvement - in other words the areas where improvements
will produce the greatest gain in consumer satisfaction;
o set goals for improvement and monitor progress.
The indicators resulting from the survey ought to become a reference tool for EU
policymakers in SGIs, which would allow them to gauge both overall consumer
satisfaction
levels and to measure the specific elements that determine satisfaction levels in individual
areas. The consumer satisfaction indicators proposed should be able to help EU
policymakers define and review EU policy in these areas. The indicators provide signals
of
whether SGIs are functioning properly and whether corrective regulatory or enforcement
measures should be considered.
The scope of the project focuses on 11 services of general interest across all 25 EU
members: gas, water, electricity, postal services, mobile telephone, fixed telephone,
urban transport (within towns/cities: tram, bus, underground, rail/RER), extra urban
transport (between towns/cities: rail, bus), air transport, retail banking and insurance.
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2. Methodology
Ipsos INRA applied a robust and homogeneous methodology across all the countries in
order
to guarantee a complete benchmark in terms of results:
• 500 interviews per sector and per country (250 for sectors of low levels of usage);
• Face to face data collection, at home, with interviews lasting an average of 55
minutes;
• Representative random sample of users for each sector in the past 12 months, via
sampling procedures based on a stratification of each country according to region
and urbanisation degree, gender, age and occupation.
The questionnaire collects ‘observed’ dimensions (i.e. easily observable criteria for
consumers) among users and drivers of consumer satisfaction, including common and
specific items adapted for each sector:
• Overall satisfaction with the service: overall satisfaction with the service – extent
to which the requirements of consumers are met;
• Price: price level – transparency (i.e. tariffs and invoices are clear and easy to
understand) – payment process (i.e. it is easy to pay one’s supplier invoices) –
affordability (i.e. the services cost more than one can afford to pay) – accuracy
(i.e. the supplier’s invoices are correct) – commercial offer (i.e. suppliers have
attractive special tariffs for specific target groups) – profitability (i.e. the supplier
shares their profit with consumers) – overall price;
• Quality: reliability of the service provided – service safety – offer relevance (i.e.
the service meets consumers’ needs) – information (i.e. suppliers regularly inform
their customers about their services and special tariffs) – technical support (i.e. the
supplier offers high quality technical assistance) – handling questions and problems
(i.e. suppliers react promptly and appropriately) – availability of the supplier –
professional, helpful and friendly staff – confidentiality (i.e. the supplier respects
customers’ privacy/discretion when dealing with delicate problems) – investment
and maintenance of infrastructures – points of sales – order ease (how easy it is to
make an order or a booking) – transport comfort – transport network – overall
quality;
• Image: supplier’s reputation – relationship between supplier and customers –
uniqueness of the supplier’s image – familiarity of customers with their supplier’s
services – popularity of the supplier – flexibility of the supplier – supplier’s customer
mindedness (i.e. the supplier puts always customers first) – state of the art (i.e.
supplier is technologically innovative) – environment (i.e. supplier respects the
environment) – overall image;
• Market and personal factors: enough competition – ability to move (change
supplier) – accessibility of the services – cross-border purchasing – national
preference (i.e. a prefer for dealing with a national supplier);
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22 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
• Commitment to the service (i.e. the consumer will still use his/her service
supplier/change supplier/stop using the service);
• Negative experiences with the services and complaints: number of problems
experienced with suppliers – complaints (i.e. did the consumer communicate
his/her problem) – satisfaction with the way the problems were solved.
The individual rating of each consumer satisfaction item is based on a 1 to 10 scale which
allows consumers to carry out a nuanced evaluation.
Regarded by the community of satisfaction research experts as the most academic and
commonly accepted scale, it is also the most consistent scale able to measure satisfaction
across borders, across sectors and over time.
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3. Satisfaction indicators
3.1. DEFINING CONSUMER SATISFACTION INDICATORS
In order to take into consideration the complexity and multifaceted nature of consumer
satisfaction, the analysis presented in this report provides the reader with two groups of
indicators measuring consumers’ satisfaction towards SGI sectors:
A. Primary indicators, reporting “direct consumer feedback” on their satisfaction
levels in each sector both at overall and component levels (i.e. for price, quality
and image).
B. Added value indicators, calculating a consumer satisfaction level that integrates
consumers’ expectations for each component (i.e. expectations towards price,
quality and image) with their satisfaction, helping to identify and prioritise action
that needs to be taken (i.e. criteria raising high levels of expectation among
consumers but showing current low levels of satisfaction).
A) PRIMARY INDICATORS
The first level of analysis aims to describe consumers’ feelings about services of general
interest and about elements that constitute suppliers’ services as well as the problems
encountered when using these services.
This analysis is built in such a way as to allow meaningful comparisons (and
aggregations)
of how consumers feel: across sectors in one member state; in one sector across member
states (EU25, EU15, NMS10); and (at a later stage) over time.
For each sector and all elements measured in the questionnaire (see Section 2), we
calculate two basic and complementary indicators that are commonly used in satisfaction
research area:
o Average levels of satisfaction: for each sector, people were asked to evaluate, on
a scale from 1 (not satisfied at all) to 10 (fully satisfied), the extent to which they
are satisfied with their supplier. On the basis of individual scores, average scores
are calculated for each sector.
Example: the average satisfaction score with sector x is 7.8 out of 10
o Levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction: the research experts’ community widely
admits that the average satisfaction score (as described above) is necessary but
requires a complementary approach that helps distinguish between satisfied,
neutral and dissatisfied consumers. As stated in most satisfaction surveys in Europe
– and confirmed in this survey - the average value of satisfaction on a 10 point-scale
is not the arithmetical average of 5 but is closer to 7. There is therefore an
inherent bias in the use of 1-10 scales in satisfaction surveys. In order to correct
this standard bias the research community generally uses the ‘Top 3 – Bottom 4
model’ that says:
‘Consumers rating 1, 2, 3 or 4 are considered as dissatisfied’
‘Consumers rating 5, 6 or 7 are considered as neutral’
‘Consumers rating 8, 9 or 10 are considered as satisfied’
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24 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
Based on this grouping rule, we can more easily measure the percentage of satisfied
and dissatisfied consumers for each sector and each criterion.
The graph below shows the two complementary indicators of satisfaction (average /
satisfied-dissatisfied) from a typical distribution of individual scores.
Typical distribution of satisfaction scores (1-10 scale)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Dissatisfaction
=9%
« Neutral » Satisfaction
= 45%
Average Satisfaction
= 7,7
In addition, other key indicators are provided in the analysis:
o Average numbers of consumer complaints. Example: On average, consumers have
experienced 3 problems with their supplier in the last 12 months.
o Breakdown analysis by consumer demographic profile (age, gender, occupation
level etc.). Example: 60% of men and 40% of women are satisfied with sector x.
B) ADDED VALUE INDICATORS
While the main objective of the first level of analysis was to measure key satisfaction
indicators and give an overall picture of a given service sector/country, the second level
intends to make use of more advanced statistical methods in order determine the
interaction of these key indicators so as to explain consumers’ overall satisfaction.
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The results of this advanced analysis will provide useful information for the Commission
and DG SANCO in particular, which could be used to determine the areas of priority and
the appropriate actions to be taken in order to improve satisfaction in a given
sector/country. It will also be a useful tool for monitoring consumer satisfaction by
country/sector over time and for evaluating the impact of a policy on consumer
satisfaction.
In the rest of the section we set out details of the two statistical tools that were used: the
satisfaction model and the two-dimensional analysis.
B1) Satisfaction model
A statistical model has been specifically built for DG SANCO and was previously
validated
during the pilot stage.
This model offers a range of possible added-value analysis and allows especially to
explain
the contribution of observed variables to overall satisfaction, allowing us to determine the
levels of consumers’ expectations.
Contribution of observed variables to overall satisfaction
The satisfaction model uses two types of variables:
• Driving factors i.e. variables explaining satisfaction: (perceived) quality –
(perceived) price – image
• Performance indicators: variables that are a consequence of satisfaction i.e.
commitment – complaints
The model helps explain the level of overall satisfaction observed for a given sector with
the help of the above-mentioned variables. In other words, the model indicates the level
of contribution made by each variable to overall satisfaction. This contribution is
calculated through a regression analysis, which determines the weight of each variable.
These weightings can take a value ranging from 0 to 1. The more a weighting is close to
1,
the more the variable is contributing to overall satisfaction, or, in other words, the higher
consumers’ expectations are.
For example, if the regression coefficients are the following: 0.4 (price), 0.35 (image) and
0.25 (quality). This means that price is the variable that contributes to satisfaction most,
i.e. where consumers’ expectations are the highest.
The model also indicates the variables that are a consequence of satisfaction and the
contribution of overall satisfaction to these variables for a given sector. Here again,
weightings are calculated in order to quantify the contribution of the overall satisfaction
to the commitment and complaints level.
The relationship between overall satisfaction and the above-mentioned variables provides
useful information for policy-making.
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26 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
For example, let’s suppose that, for a given sector, the level of satisfaction is low and
that price is the variable that contributes most to this level of satisfaction. In addition,
let’s suppose that complaints are the main consequence of this low level of satisfaction.
Policy-makers should then focus their attention on price as it contributes to
dissatisfaction and consequently to complaints.
The model can also be used to set and test further hypotheses and assess the potential
impact of actions, as in the following hypothetical example:
In the fixed phone sector within the EU25, an increase of 10% in consumer satisfaction
regarding prices would improve the overall consumer satisfaction level to 33% Æ
Policymakers’ efforts could therefore be focused first on price transparency and
information.
B2) Two-dimensional analysis
The two-dimensional analysis is one of the most common approaches to be carried out on
consumer satisfaction data and helps in the presentation of the final results. The aim of
this analysis is to summarise the opportunities for action (i.e. areas where the SGI does
not perform so well and where actions to change the situation are needed in order to
improve consumer satisfaction) and areas where no action is needed (i.e. areas where
the SGI performs well and where no action is required), on a simple mapping system that
takes into account:
ƒ the score of each variable on a 10-point scale (satisfaction);
ƒ the regression coefficient – in other words consumers’ expectation levels - of the
3 drivers of satisfaction (quality, price, image). As mentioned before, these
coefficients express the importance (contribution) of each of these 3 drivers in the
overall satisfaction. The regression coefficient can have a value from 0 to 1.
This mapping system is particularly useful in providing a visual representation of priority
areas for improvement for the European Commission and DG SANCO to take into
account.
Example: let’s suppose that we find regression coefficients of 0.40 for price, 0.25 for
quality and 0.35 for image. This means that price accounts for 40% of the observed
satisfaction; quality accounts for 25% of it and image 35%. In other words, price
contributes most to overall satisfaction; this is the most important factor. This said, if
price reaches a low satisfaction score, it therefore becomes a priority area of action
for policy-makers to increase the overall satisfaction of the sector.
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Four quadrants are formed:
- the upper left quadrant corresponds to a priority action i.e. situation where the
item’s satisfaction scores are below average whereas consumers expectations for
these variables are quite high (i.e. these variables contribute a large amount to
overall satisfaction). Consumers are not very satisfied with the items falling into
this quadrant whereas these are important items for them. This quadrant defines
the policy areas where action will have the greatest effect on overall consumer
satisfaction.
- the upper right quadrant corresponds to an ideal situation, i.e. an area where no
action is needed. This is a situation where the item’s satisfaction scores are above
average and consumer expectations are quite high for these variables. Consumers
are very satisfied with the items falling into this quadrant. In addition, these
contribute most to consumer satisfaction. This quadrant defines the policy areas
where action will have the least effect on overall consumer satisfaction.
- the lower left quadrant corresponds to a low importance area i.e. a situation
where the item’s satisfaction scores are below average and expectations are quite
low for these variables. Attention should not be focused on these variables as they
are secondary factors. This is not a priority for the moment. This quadrant defines
the policy areas where action will have a small effect on overall consumer
satisfaction.
- The lower right quadrant corresponds to a long-term action i.e. a situation where
the item’s satisfaction scores are above average whereas expectations are quite
low for these variables. Consumers are quite satisfied with the items falling into
this quadrant but these items do not contribute much to the overall satisfaction.
Although these are not priority areas, there may be an opportunity for raising
consumer’s awareness about the importance of these items. This quadrant defines
the policy areas where action could have a longer term effect on overall
consumer satisfaction.
Example:
For a given sector, we find the following:
• Satisfaction scores: 5.5 for price level (PRICE) and 7.9 for payment process (PRICE);
6.0 for points of sale (QUALITY) and 7.5 for staff professionalism (QUALITY); 7.25
for reputation (IMAGE) and 6.8 for customer mindedness (IMAGE)
• Regression coefficient: 0.4 for PRICE, 0.35 for IMAGE and 0.25 for QUALITY
• Average score: 6.83
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28 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
Expectations +
Priority actions
Price level (5.5)
Customer mindedness (6.8)
Ideal situation
Payment process (7.9)
Reputation (7.25)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Points of sale (6.0)
Long-term actions
Staff professionalism (7.5)
Satisfaction +
Expectations -
Price level and customer mindedness are two priority areas for the sector given as an
example. These two items are of high importance to consumers (they make a
considerable
contribution to overall satisfaction) whereas they obtain low satisfaction scores
(compared
to the average). An action in these two areas would have the greatest effect on
consumer satisfaction.
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On the other hand, consumers are quite satisfied with payment process and reputation as
these items obtained satisfaction scores above the average. These two items correspond to
an ideal situation as they play an important role in consumer satisfaction. No action is
required in these areas.
Staff professionalism performs very well as the satisfaction score is above the average.
For
the moment, this item is of less importance (it does not contribute much to overall
satisfaction). Communication in this area should raise consumer awareness of the
importance of this item.
Action taken in the area of point of sales would have little effect on consumer satisfaction
as people’s expectations in this area are low.
3.2. STRUCTURE OF THE FINAL REPORT
The first part will present a descriptive analysis of the survey results for each sector - at
the EU and country level for each of the main topics assessed by the respondents. The
results of the survey will be analysed by socio-economic group. Advanced analysis based
on
the satisfaction model will complete this descriptive part.
In the second part we use graphs to show the percentage of consumers who are satisfied
or
dissatisfied with the eleven SGIs (services of general interest) by country and for the
EU25
as a whole.
The last part of this report will highlight the main findings of the survey. We will also
conclude with recommendations for future improvements and research.
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B. DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF THE SURVEY
RESULTS
1. Electricity supply
1.1. OVERALL RESULTS
EU consumers are fairly satisfied with electricity supply: the average score at EU25 level
is
7.6 (on a scale of 1 to 10).
Compared to the EU15, there are relatively more satisfied consumers (those giving a
score
from 8 to 10) in the new member states (62%) but also relatively more dissatisfied
consumers (7% of respondents gave a score from 1 to 4). This result suggests that
consumers from the new member states pay more attention to this service than EU15
consumers but it could also point to higher differences in quality and/or perception levels
within these countries.
The percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers are displayed in the following
graph:
EL. 1 Electricity supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006)
62.3 6.7
56.5 4.9
57.6 5.3
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your electricity supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 31
1.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
The following graph shows the percentage of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers per
country:
EL. 2 Electricity supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006)
34.8
36.4
41.1
42.7
47
48.1
52.8
53.2
56.5
57.6
58.2
58.3
59.9
60.4
62.3
63.2
65.2
70.1
71.5
71.8
72.6
72.7
73.1
73.2
73.5
78.9
79.5
81.6
8.3
6.4
4
17.4
9.5
8.5
11.5
4.9
5.3
6.6
9.2
6.4
3.1
6.7
6.1
2.1
6.4
2.1
4.4
8.6
2.4
3.2
3.5
2.5
2.2
2
1.6
12.8
0 20 40 60 80 100
IT
PT
NL
ES
MT
EL
SK
SE
EU15
EU25
UK
CZ
PL
FR
NMS10
FI
BE
CY
LU
EE
HU
DE
LV
IE
SI
DK
AT
LT
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your electricity supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
At country level, the proportion of satisfied consumers ranges from 35 % (Italy) to 82 %
(Lithuania).
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32 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
Based on the proportion of satisfied consumers, EU countries can be divided into two
groups:
1. The first group includes countries where consumers are more satisfied than the
EU25 on average. In descending order, these are: Lithuania, Austria, Denmark,
Slovenia, Ireland, Latvia, Germany, Hungary, Estonia, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Belgium
and Finland. Most of the new member states (6 out of the 10) are in this first group.
2. The second group contains countries where consumers are less satisfied than the
EU25 on average: Slovakia, Greece, Malta, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and
Italy. In Portugal and Italy less than 40% of consumers say they are satisfied with
their electricity supply.
The survey results also show that the proportion of dissatisfied consumers in Malta,
Portugal and Sweden is higher than 10% (it is even 17 % in Malta). At the other extreme
fewer than 3% of consumers say they are dissatisfied in Lithuania, Austria, Belgium,
Luxembourg, Denmark, Germany and Slovenia.
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1.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUP
The following graph displays the proportion of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers for
different socio-economic groups:
EL. 3 Electricity supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category –
percentage (2006)
57.6
57.6
57.3
56
59.7
54.6
58.3
59
56.8
52.5
62
56.7
60
55.3
50.5
58.8
60.9
5
5.5
6.4
3.9
5.7
5.5
4.6
4.5
6.9
3.7
5.2
4.6
5.4
6.6
8.7
3.9
5.5
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your electricity supplier?
% by socio-demographics
Gender Age Education Occupation
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34 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
In terms of occupation, the graph shows the following results:
1. Managers (62%), retired consumers (61%) and blue collar workers (60%) tend to be
more satisfied than those belonging to other professional categories while the
selfemployed and house-persons are the least satisfied;
2. The unemployed tend to be more dissatisfied than the others with respect to
electricity supply.
In terms of age, people over 55 years old are more satisfied (60%) than the other
categories and than the EU25 on average.
Lastly, consumers who completed their secondary school studies tend to be more
satisfied
than those who dropped out of school early.
1.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS ARISING FROM THE SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
In Austria, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Ireland, more than 7 consumers out of 10 consider
their electricity provider to have a positive image overall (as against an EU25 average of
51%). Only 28% of consumers in the Netherlands, 31% in Portugal and Malta, 33% in
Italy
and 35% in Spain and Sweden consider their electricity provider to have a positive image
overall.
B) OVERALL QUALITY
For the majority of EU25 consumers (57%), their electricity provider offers a quality
service. Austrians are the most satisfied consumers as far as the overall quality of
electricity distribution is concerned (80% of consumers say they are satisfied).
C) OVERALL PRICE
Only 35% of consumers say that their provider’s prices are fair given the services
provided.
Luxembourg, Slovenia, Finland and Germany are the only countries where an absolute
majority (from 50% to 52%) agrees with this statement.
D) COMMITMENT
In countries where consumers have the choice between electricity providers, i.e. in
Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Finland, the
Netherlands,
Sweden and the UK, the vast majority of consumers have no intention of changing
supplier
in the short run (within a year). The only exception is Belgium, where only 46% say they
are committed to their supplier.
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E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
More than 8 consumers out of 10 prefer to deal with a national electricity provider. The
same proportion think that the services of these providers are available for everybody and
available everywhere.
In liberalised markets, almost two thirds of consumers think that there is enough
competition. In the UK and the Netherlands, this idea is shared by 84% and 77% of users
respectively, whereas only 28% of Czech consumers think so.
However, when asked about changing their provider, consumers are less convinced that
this would be easy to do: only 54% believe that there are no barriers. The Czechs, Danes,
Austrians and Belgians are the least convinced. 18% of Czechs, 22% of Danes, 35% of
Austrians and 36% of Belgians believe that it is easy to change from one supplier to
another.
Finally, only 23% of EU consumers think that it is possible to buy electricity
from an
electricity supplier outside their country. A majority (41%) of them could not give an
answer.
1.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION
As mentioned at the beginning of this report, before taking any action to improve
consumers’ overall satisfaction, it is important to determine the criteria or elements that
influence and explain consumers’ overall satisfaction. These criteria are quality, pricing
and image. This contribution to consumers’ overall satisfaction is calculated through a
regression analysis which determines the relative weighting of quality, pricing and image
in
overall satisfaction.
The weighting of each of these criteria (regression coefficient
1
) calculated for the
electricity supply service is shown in the following table:
Regression coefficients
Quality 0.302
Image 0.314
Pricing 0.493

1
These weightings can take a value ranging from 0 to 1, with 0 meaning that the criteria
has no influence on overall
satisfaction and 1 meaning that it contributes fully to overall satisfaction.
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36 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
The regression coefficients show that all three factors are important. However, pricing
has
the biggest impact on satisfaction (i.e. consumers’ expectations as to price are higher than
for quality and image). This result can be partially explained by the fact that in the
electricity market the price elasticity of demand is low (an increase in the electricity price
level causes a less than proportional decrease in domestic demand). Another part of
the
explanation is probably that, in a mature market with few differentiated products, the
main (or remaining) factor that influences consumer satisfaction and choice of supplier is
price – all other factors are considered to be good enough.
In other words, efforts to improve consumers’ overall satisfaction with the electricity
supply service need to be focused on pricing issues to a large extent and then on image
and quality.
B) OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
In order to define precise and concrete actions to improve consumers’ satisfaction with
the
electricity supply service, another advanced analysis needs to be performed: the
twodimensional analysis.
The aim is to determine:
• the areas where the SGI does not perform well and where actions to change the
situation is needed in order to improve consumers’ satisfaction;
• the areas where the SGI performs well and where no action is needed.
This is done by mean of a diagram taking into account the following information:
• The average satisfaction score given by consumers to each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the X-axis of the map)
• The weighting or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumers’ satisfaction - this weighting represents the extent to which each
criterion is important to consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the Y-axis of the
map).
The diagram on the following page shows the areas where priority actions are needed in
order to improve consumers’ satisfaction with the electricity supply service.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 37
EL. 4 Two-dimensional analysis - Electricity
Importance +
Priority actions
Transparency (7.05)
Overall price (6.56)
Commercial offer (6.41)
Price level (5.81)
Environmentally friendly
actions (7.22)
Familiarity (7.15)
Ease (7.07)
Customer service mentality
(6.86)
Uniqueness (6.74)
Ideal situation
Payment process (7.92)
Accuracy (7.37)
Popularity (7.75)
State of the art technology
(7.49)
Overall image(7.43)
Relationship (7.38
Reputation (7.27)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Points of sale (6.64)
Information (6.56)
Long term actions
Safety (8.11)
Reliability( 7.96)
Offer relevance (7.89)
Overall quality (7.71)
Confidentiality (7.69)
Order ease (7.58)
Staff professionalism (7.55)
Infrastructure (7.53)
Technical support (7.34)
Availability (7.29)
Questions/problem handling
(7.29)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
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38 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
OVERALL OBSERVATIONS
In the previous section, the diagram shows that perceived price is the element that has the
greatest influence on consumer satisfaction with their electricity supply service. In
addition, consumers are not fully satisfied with price issues.
Therefore, it can be assumed that most of the opportunities for improvement are
related
to improving consumers’ perception of price and that these improvements would
consequently influence overall consumers’ satisfaction with this service.
Given the weighting of the pricing criteria (near to 0.5), any action that would lead to an
increase of 10% of consumers who are satisfied with the price of their electricity supply
service would lead to an increase of 5% in overall consumers’ satisfaction with this
service.
SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST
PRICING
The elements of pricing that consumers are particularly dissatisfied with and that need
special attention are:
• the price level charged by suppliers for electricity distribution services;
• commercial offers i.e. there are not enough attractive special tariffs for specific
groups of consumers;
• the transparency of tariffs.
On the other hand, consumers are satisfied with the different options they are given to
pay
their invoices (‘payment process’) and the accuracy of the invoices received from their
supplier. No particular action needs to be taken in these areas.
IMAGE
Overall consumers’ satisfaction can also be improved by taking measures that would:
• increase the differentiation between electricity providers - consumers expect their
electricity provider to have a ‘unique’ image that others do not have;
• Improve suppliers’ customer service mentality.
These observations might be explained by the fact that member states’ domestic markets
are not yet fully liberalised and that, even in liberalised markets, the competition is still
limited (former state-owned suppliers continue to have most of the market share). In this
context of newly competitive markets, it is only now that major electricity providers are
beginning to feel the need to advertise and invest in their image or in added value
information services (e.g. related to price calculation or energy-savings tools).
To a lesser extent, consumers expect to deal with their supplier in a flexible way, to
receive more information about their supplier’s services and expect their supplier to take
environmental concerns into account.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 39
QUALITY
As mentioned earlier, consumers tend to be satisfied with the quality of service provided
by their electricity provider. Nevertheless, quality does not have a major influence on
consumers’ overall satisfaction with this service.
This does not mean that consumers show little interest in the quality of electricity or
related services they receive. But it could be explained by the fact that, since they are
used to receiving electricity on a reliable and constant basis, their needs are sufficiently
met and there are not many opportunities for improvement in this area.
CONCLUSIONS
Considering these statements, priority actions that need to be taken in electricity supply in
order to increase consumer satisfaction are as follows:
o increase the number of special tariffs and the transparency of tariffs on the one
hand and decrease the price level on the other hand;
o strengthen the supplier image by developing a unique image and improving
customer service mentalities.
On the other hand, the following positive elements need to be maintained:
o the popularity and the reputation of suppliers, the type of relationship between
consumers and suppliers and the fact that suppliers deliver their products and
services via state of the art technologies;
o the accuracy of invoices and the ease of the payment process.
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40 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
2. Gas supply
2.1. OVERALL RESULTS
EU consumers are fairly satisfied with their gas suppliers: the average score at EU25
level
is 7.6 on a scale from 1 to 10.
The following graph shows the percentage of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers at EU
level:
GAS. 1 Gas supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006)
60.9 6.6
57.2 4
57.9 4.4
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your gas supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
Questions not asked for that service in Cyprus and Malta
The above graph shows that both the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers
are higher in the ten new member states (considered as group). In most of these countries
fewer consumers take a ‘neutral’ position (i.e. rating their satisfaction between 5 and 7
out of 10). This finding is similar to the results for electricity supply.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 41
2.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
The percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers in EU countries
2
are shown in the
graph below:
GAS. 2 Gas supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006)
36.4
43.3
47.6
47.7
49.5
57.2
57.9
58.2
58.3
58.9
60.9
64.5
64.9
65.2
67.5
68.1
69.3
69.7
74.1
75.9
76.6
77.2
77.9
81.8
84.5
87.4
3.8
4.1
4
4.4
4.5
4.9
4.8
6.6
10.1
9.2
2.6
4.8
2.1
1.7
3.6
1.9
2.7
1.4
1.2
2.6
1.9
0.7
1.5
3.7
4.1
15
0 20 40 60 80 100
IT
SK
NL
ES
PT
EU15
EU25
FR
UK
PL
NMS10
CZ
HU
BE
LV
EE
LU
DE
SE
AT
FI
SI
DK
IE
LT
EL
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your gas supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
Questions not asked for that service in Cyprus and Malta

2
There is no gas distribution infrastructure in Malta or Cyprus. These countries have
therefore been left out of the
comparisons.
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42 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
At country level, the percentage of consumers who are satisfied with their gas supply
service ranges from 36.4 % (Italy) to 87.4 % (Greece).
Based on the percentage of satisfied consumers, EU countries can be organised into two
groups:
3. The first group is made up of countries in which consumers are more satisfied than
EU25 consumers are on average: Greece, Lithuania, Ireland - with very high
percentages of satisfied consumers (from 82 to 87%). These countries are followed
by Denmark, Slovenia, Finland, Austria and Sweden (from 74 to 78%) and finally
Germany, Luxembourg, Estonia, Latvia, Belgium, Hungary and the Czech Republic
(from 64 to 70%). As already noted, six of the ten new member states are in this
group.
4. The second group is made up of countries in which consumers are less satisfied than
the EU25 average: Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Slovakia (from 43% to 49% of
satisfied consumers) and Italy, which has the lowest percentage of satisfied
consumers (36%).
The highest percentages of dissatisfied consumers are to be found in three new member
states: Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary, with, respectively, 15%, 10% and 9% of
dissatisfied consumers. Remarkably, the Czech Republic and Hungary have also
relatively
high percentages of satisfied consumers.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 43
2.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUP
The following graph shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers
according to their socio-economic category:
GAS. 3 Gas supply: proportion of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-economic
category –
percentages (2006)
58.2
57.6
55.7
57.2
60
54.6
59.6
58.8
48
51
62.2
59.2
56.4
51
60.9
55.7
59.7
4.4
4.5
4.5
4.2
4.4
4.1
4.6
7.5
5.4
4.1
3.7
4.2
6.6
3.5
6.5
4.4
4.4
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your gas supplier?
% by socio-demographics
Questions not asked for that service in Cyprus and Malta
Gender Age Education Occupation
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44 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
When the figures are broken down by socio-economic group, managers (62%) and house
persons (61%) appear to be those who are most satisfied with their gas supplies.
Respondents who have been at school up until the age of 15 (or less) are somewhat less
satisfied (55% are satisfied) than those who have finished secondary school.
In terms of age groups, respondents over 55 years old are clearly the most satisfied
consumers – 60% of them rated their satisfaction equal to or greater then 8 out of 10.
There is no significant difference between men and women in terms of how far they are
satisfied with their gas supply services.
2.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS ARISING DIRECTLY FROM THE
SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
In Greece, Ireland, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Finland, more than 7 consumers out of 10
see their gas provider as having a positive image overall (against an EU25 average of
49%).
Only 25% in Sweden, 30% in Italy, 32% in the Netherlands and 39% in Portugal and
Spain
think that their gas provider has a positive image overall.
B) OVERALL QUALITY
For the majority of EU25 consumers (59%), their gas provider offers a quality service.
The
Greeks are the most satisfied consumers as far as the overall quality of gas distribution is
concerned (88% of ‘satisfied’ consumers).
C) OVERALL PRICE
For a small percentage of EU citizens, whether in the EU15 or in NMS10, their
provider’s
prices are considered fair given the services provided. This percentage is the lowest
(16%)
in Slovakia. Luxembourg, Finland, Lithuania, Ireland, Slovenia and Greece, on the other
hand, are the only countries where an absolute majority (from 51% to 63%) agrees with
this
statement.
D) COMMITMENT
More than 8 consumers out of 10 who have the choice between several gas suppliers (i.e.
Austria, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Finland, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal,
Slovakia, Slovenia and the UK) will keep their supplier in the next 12 months.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 45
E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
Almost 8 EU consumers out of 10 prefer to deal with national gas providers.
Their services are available for everybody and everywhere, according to 68% of EU gas
users and especially in the new member states (75% against 67% in the EU15). In
addition,
when asked whether they think it is possible to buy gas distribution services from a
supplier outside their country, a majority could not give an answer (40%) and 38% said
they
did not think it is possible.
While 87% of British people, 79% of Portuguese people and 67% of Dutch people agree
with
the fact that there is enough competition in their country, 78% of French people and 74%
of Slovaks do not think that there is enough competition in their country.
With regard to changing provider, EU consumers have different views: 42%
believe that
there are no barriers, especially in the EU15 (43% as against 22% in the NMS10). The
UK
(80%) and Portugal (79%) are the countries where the greatest percentage of people agree
with this statement. A similar percentage disagrees with this statement, especially in
France (76%) and in Slovakia (71%).
2.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION
The relative weight or importance of quality, pricing and image in consumers’ overall
satisfaction (regression coefficient
3
) calculated for the gas supply service is shown in the
following table:
Regression coefficients
Quality 0.488
Image 0.276
Pricing 0.204
As can be seen, quality is the criterion that is regarded by consumers as the most
important when they evaluate their gas supply service. In other words, consumers’ overall
satisfaction will be mostly influenced by how far they are satisfied with the quality of
their
gas supply service. In particular, consumers expect to receive a safe and reliable (e.g. no
disruptions in the gas supply) service.

3
These co-efficients can have a value ranging from 0 to 1, with 0 meaning that the criteria
has no influence on overall
satisfaction and 1 meaning that it has a major influence on overall satisfaction.
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46 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
B) OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
As mentioned earlier, another advanced analysis needs to be carried out in order to define
precise and concrete actions that can be taken to improve consumers’ satisfaction with
gas
supply service. This is called a two-dimensional analysis:
The aim is to determine:
• the areas where the SGI does not perform well and where actions to change the
situation are needed to improve consumer satisfaction;
• the areas where the SGI performs well and where no action is needed.
This is done by mapping out the results of the surveys by taking into account the
following
information:
• the average satisfaction score given by consumers for each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the diagram, the X-axis);
• The weight or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumer satisfaction. This weight represents how far each criterion is regarded as
important by consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the diagram, the Y-axis).
The diagram on the following page shows the areas in which priority actions are needed
to
improve consumer satisfaction with their gas supply service
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 47
GAS. 4 Two-dimensional analysis - Gas
Importance +
Priority actions
Points of sale (6.79)
Information (6.48)
Environment friendly (7.24)
Reputation (7.2)
Familiarity (7.14)
Ease (7.1)
Customer mentality (6.91)
Uniqueness (6.67)
Ideal situation
Safety (8.11)
Reliability (8.07)
Offer relevance (7.87)
Order ease (7.85)
Overall quality (7.76)
Confidentiality (7.7)
Staff professionalism (7.69)
Infrastructure (7.5)
Technical support (7.42)
Questions/problem handling
(7.38)
Availability (7.31)
Popularity (7.58)
Relationship (7.45)
State of the art (7.42)
Overall image (7.34)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Transparency (6.98)
Overall price (6.41)
Commercial offer (5.91)
Price level (5.74)
Long term actions
Payment process (7.93)
Accuracy (7.37)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
OVERALL OBSERVATIONS
The average satisfaction rating for all the variables is 7.2. Variables that have the greatest
impact on consumers’ overall satisfaction, i.e. quality and image, gain good scores (7.8
and 7.3 respectively) while price is substantially below average levels of satisfaction
(with
a score of 6.4).
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48 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST
QUALITY
The elements of quality that consumers are particularly dissatisfied with and that need
special attention are:
• the information provided by gas suppliers: apparently consumers do not receive
regular information about their supplier’s services and special tariffs;
• point of sale: consumers would like to have a point of sale near to their home.
On the other hand, Consumers seem to be satisfied with:
• safety of service: their supplier provides them with a safe service;
• reliability of service: their supplier offers a reliable service i.e. it works well, all
the time and without disruptions in the supply;
• infrastructure: their supplier invests in modernising their infrastructure.
This is an encouraging observation in a sector where safety and continuity of service are
of
paramount importance from a consumer’s point of view.
IMAGE
Similarly to the electricity supply sector, the areas where action needs to be taken to
improve consumers levels of satisfaction are:
• building a unique supplier’s image (uniqueness): consumers need to have a gas
supplier with an image that is different from the others. Consumers are looking for
more differentiation among gas suppliers;
• Customer service mentality: suppliers need to put the client first;
• Familiarity: consumers need to know about the services of their supplier and
understand what their supplier does.
PRICE
Consumers are dissatisfied with the following elements of pricing:
• price level: their provider does not offer reasonable or competitive prices;
• commercial offer: their supplier does not have attractive special tariffs for specific
target groups or for specific usage;
• transparency: tariffs and invoices are not clear or easy to understand.
Although these elements are a source of dissatisfaction for consumers, they are not
considered of great importance. They do not have much of an impact on consumers’
overall satisfaction. Therefore, no specific action is needed to change this situation.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 49
CONCLUSIONS
Given the above, the main areas that the gas supply can be improved so as to increase
consumer satisfaction are as follows:
o increase the quality of services and products by informing consumers better and
being more ‘consumer-focused’;
o boost the supplier’s image by developing a unique image, improving customer
service mentality, increasing environmental care, boosting the consumer’s
familiarity with and the flexibility of the supplier.
On the other hand, it is important to maintain the strengths (high satisfaction combined
with high importance) of gas supply:
o in terms of quality, the safety, reliability, offer relevance, order ease,
confidentiality, staff professionalism, quality of the infrastructure, technical
support, questions/problems handling and availability;
o in terms of image, popularity, relationship and respect for the use state of the art
technology in the delivery of gas and related services.
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50 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
3. Water distribution
3.1. OVERALL RESULTS
On average, EU25 consumers give their water distribution service a satisfaction rating of
7.7 on a scale from 1 to 10.
The following graph shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied respondents in
the
water distribution sector, broken down into the EU of 25 member states, the EU of 15
member states prior to the 2004 accession of ten new member states and the ten new
member states that joined in 2004:
WAT. 1 Water distribution: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers -
percentages (2006)
59.1 7.9
60.5 4.8
60.2 5.4
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your water supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
More than 60% of EU25 consumers are satisfied with their water distribution service.
There
is no significant difference between the percentage of satisfied consumers in the EU15
and
the percentage of satisfied consumers in the NMS10. However, there are more
dissatisfied
consumers in the new member states than in the EU15 (7.9% of them being dissatisfied in
the NMS10 against 4.8% in the EU15).
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 51
3.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
The differences between EU member states in terms of percentages of satisfied and
dissatisfied consumers are displayed in the following graph:
WAT. 2 Water distribution: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country-
percentages (2006)
40.4
46.9
50.5
51.5
52
52.2
52.8
53.1
53.4
56.8
59
59.1
59.2
59.6
59.7
60.2
60.5
64.3
70.6
71.5
72
73.5
79.6
80.7
83
83.9
84.8
86.8
8.6
11.7
12.3
4.4
8.6
8.9
14.3
1
7.6
9.8
7.9
9
8.5
5.5
5.4
4.8
0.4
7.4
8
4.8
3.2
2.9
1.6
2.3
2.2
1
1.5
6.1
0 20 40 60 80 100
IT
ES
LV
EE
FR
PT
SK
MT
NL
PL
EL
NMS10
CZ
LT
UK
EU25
EU15
BE
HU
IE
SI
LU
FI
SE
CY
DE
DK
AT
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your water supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
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52 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
Compared to the EU average, consumers in the two following groups tend to be more
satisfied with their water distribution service:
o Austria, Denmark, Germany, Cyprus Sweden and Finland (with percentages of
satisfied consumers ranging from 80% to 87%);
o Luxembourg, Slovenia, Ireland and Hungary (from 71% to 73.5%).
The countries where consumers are least satisfied with their water distribution service are
the Netherlands, Malta, Slovakia, Portugal, France, Estonia, Latvia (with the percentage
of
satisfied consumers ranging from 50% to 53%), and Spain and Italy, where only 40% to
47%
of respondents say they are satisfied with their water distribution service.
Most of the northern European countries are in the first group of countries with high
percentages of satisfied consumers (Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Finland), while most of
the southern European countries are in the second group (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Malta).
Compared to other utility services, there are a number of countries where the percentages
of dissatisfied consumers are relatively high: Malta (14%), Estonia (12%) and Latvia
(12%),
as well as Greece, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Portugal, Italy and Lithuania with a
percentage of dissatisfied consumers between 8% and 10%.
In several countries with average or lower numbers of satisfied consumers, the
percentage
of dissatisfied consumers is also very low: the figures range from 0.5% in Belgium to
1.5% in
Sweden. In the Netherlands, consumers tend to be relatively neutral as there are both low
percentages of satisfied consumers and low percentages of dissatisfied consumers in
these
countries.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 53
3.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUP
The following graph shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers
according to their socio-economic category:
WAT. 3 Water supply: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category -
percentages (2006)
59.3
61
60.1
59.6
61
54.8
61.3
62.6
62.1
52.7
60
60.2
63
60.7
57.3
60.5
63.4
5.9
5.2
5.6
5.2
6.2
5.2
5.2
4.5
7.8
4.8
4.6
4.9
4.9
5.9
6.7
5
5
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your water supplier?
% by socio-demographics
Gender Age Education Occupation
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54 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
The extent to which consumers are satisfied with their water distribution service cannot
be
explained by their professional occupation or age. The only professional category where
the number of satisfied consumers is significantly lower than the average is the
selfemployed category (53%).
In terms of education levels, as for the two other utility sectors, only the respondents who
stopped studying at the age of 15 or before are less satisfied (55%) than the average
population.
Finally, men are slightly more satisfied with their water distribution than woman (61%
versus 59%).
3.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS RESULTING DIRECTLY FROM
THE SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
In Austria, Cyprus, Finland and Luxembourg, 7 consumers out of 10 see their water
provider as having a positive image overall (against an EU25 average of 49%).
Consumers
saw their water provider as having the least positive image in France and in most of the
southern European countries (Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain), where fewer than 4
consumers out of 10 said they felt that their water provider had a positive image.
B) OVERALL QUALITY
The majority of EU25 consumers (58%) said that their water provider offers a quality
service overall.
Austrians are the most satisfied consumers as far as the overall quality of water
distribution is concerned (83% are ‘satisfied consumers’) whereas Italians are again at the
opposite end of the spectrum (38% are ‘satisfied consumers’).
C) OVERALL PRICE
With regard to consumers’ attitudes to price, there are considerable differences across the
EU. In six countries, fewer than 30% of consumers think that their water provider prices
are fair in terms of the service provided (against an EU25 average of 38%). This is the
case
in Slovakia (22%), Malta (23%), Italy and France (26% each), Portugal and Spain (29%
each).
On the other hand, more than 50% of consumers in Finland, Austria, Slovenia, Denmark,
Germany, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Hungary and Ireland think that their water provider
prices
are fair in terms of the service provided.
D) COMMITMENT
In the 3 countries where the market for water distribution is liberalised, i.e. Finland,
France and Latvia, 9 consumers out of 10 said they will still use their supplier in the next
12 months.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 55
E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
Overall, a large percentage of EU25 consumers (72%) think that their water provider
services are available for everybody. In the new member states, this percentage comes to
82% (as against 70% in the EU15). In Finland, on the other hand, only 44% of
respondents
agreed with the statement.
Although consumers in Finland, France and Latvia have a choice between several
suppliers,
only a small percentage of them believe that there is enough competition (13% on
average
and only 4% in Latvia). Moreover, even fewer consumers find it easy to change from one
supplier to another (8% on average).
A small percentage of EU consumers (14%) believe that there is a possibility of buying
water distribution services from another country.
In Spain, a quarter of users believe that this is a possibility.
3.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL
SATISIFACTION
As can be seen from the table below, pricing has the greatest impact on consumers’
overall satisfaction, followed by image and quality.
Regression coefficients
Quality 0.342
Image 0.370
Pricing 0.434
Therefore, efforts to improve consumers’ overall satisfaction with their water distribution
service need to be focused on pricing issues to a large extent, followed by image and
quality issues.
B) OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
Another advanced analysis, the two-dimensional analysis, needs to be carried out in order
to define precise and concrete actions to improve consumers’ satisfaction with their water
distribution supply.
The aim is to determine:
• the areas where the SGI is not performing well and where action to change the
situation is needed in order to improve consumers’ satisfaction;
• the areas where the SGI is performing well and where no action is needed.
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56 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
This is done via a diagram, which takes into account the following information:
• the average satisfaction score given by consumers to each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the X-axis of the map);
• the weighting or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumers’ satisfaction - this weighting gives an indication as to how important
each criterion is to consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the Y-axis of the map).
WAT. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Water
Importance +
Priority actions
Overall price (6.77)
Price level (6.21)
Commercial offer (5.78)
State of the art (7.19)
Ease (7.13)
Familiarity (7.12)
Customer mentality (6.97)
Uniqueness (6.58)
Ideal situation
Payment process (7.97)
Accuracy (7.47)
Transparency (7.23)
Environment friendly (7.55)
Popularity (7.48)
Relationship (7.42)
Overall image (7.37)
Reputation (7.32)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Availability (7.19)
Technical support (7.19)
Points of sale (6.88)
Information (5.92)
Long term actions
Reliability ( 7.94)
Safety (7.86)
Offer relevance (7.82)
Order ease (7.78)
Confidentiality (7.69)
Overall quality (7.64)
Staff professionalism (7.52)
Infrastructure (7.38)
Questions/problem handling
(7.27)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 57
OVERALL OBSERVATIONS
In the previous section, the diagram shows that the element that has the greatest
influence on consumer satisfaction with water distribution service is their perception of
price levels. In addition, consumers are not fully satisfied with pricing issues.
Therefore, it can be assumed that most of the opportunities for improvement are
related
to improving consumers’ perception of price and that these improvements would in turn
have an impact on overall consumers’ satisfaction with this service.
SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST
PRICE
Consumers are less satisfied with the price of their water distribution service and the
special tariffs offered by their supplier than with other elements of pricing.
Taking into account that this pricing is the criterion that has the biggest impact on
consumers’ overall satisfaction, it is clear that this is again the area in which priority
actions might be undertaken.
On the other hand, consumers are satisfied with ‘payment process’ (i.e. is it easy to pay
invoices), ‘accuracy’ (i.e. are invoices correct) and ‘transparency’ (i.e. are tariffs and
invoices clear and easy to understand). No particular action is needed in these areas.
IMAGE
The average satisfaction score that respondents give to ‘uniqueness’ and ‘customer
service
mentality’ is quite low compared to other elements related to the supplier’s image. This
might be explained by the fact that the water distribution service is not liberalised in most
of the countries. Generally there is only one supplier, which does not need to differentiate
itself from another competitor.
In addition, the position of the ‘state of the art’ item on the diagram suggests that
consumers expect water distributors to take new technologies more into account and to
improve their ability to innovate. This request could be linked to their wish for ICT
(information and communications technology) to be used when they order services and
for
meter reading procedures.
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58 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
QUALITY
The elements of quality that consumers are least satisfied with and that need special
attention are:
• ‘information’: they do not think that their supplier provides them with regular
information about their services and offers;
• ‘points of sale’: there is no agency near to their home;
• ‘availability’: consumers cannot reach their supplier when they need to;
• ‘technical support’: their supplier does not offer a high quality technical service
when it comes to new installation, repairs, etc.
This suggests that consumers would be interested in receiving more information about,
for
instance, the characteristics of the water they use and drink (e.g. how much limestone or
nitrate it contains).
On the other hand, consumers are relatively satisfied with their supplier in terms of the
reliability and safety of the service provided, which might reflect the confidence
consumers have in the quality of the water distribution services that are being delivered.
CONCLUSIONS
Given these statements, the areas in which priority actions might be taken are as follows:
o Pricing: bringing the price down whilst developing better and/or more commercial
offers for specific target groups (or providing better information on the existing
special tariffs);
o Image: increasing the focus on consumers and improving the image of the
uniqueness of the supplier, strengthening consumers’ sense of ‘familiarity’ with
their water distributors and better use of new technologies (state of the art) to
help consumers when they order a service and with meter readings.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 59
4. Fixed telephone service
4.1. OVERALL RESULTS
Overall, compared to other SGIs, consumers are less satisfied with their fixed telephone
service (rating of 7.3 out of 10). Average satisfaction is slightly higher in the EU15 than
in
the NMS10. As can be seen in the graph below, this can be explained by a bigger
percentage of dissatisfied consumers in the NMS10 than in the EU15.
FT. 1 Fixed telephony: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006)
51.4 12.6
52.1 7.6
52 8.4
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your fixed phone supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
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60 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
4.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
The following graph shows the percentage of satisfied and dissatisfied respondents by
country.
FT. 2 Fixed telephone: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006)
27.4
29.7
36
39.7
40.7
45.1
45.2
49.3
51.4
52
52.1
53.1
59.8
60.9
61.3
62
63.4
65.1
65.2
68.5
68.5
68.7
70.1
71
71.4
72.4
73
78.3
14.8
7.5
3.3
23.3
9.4
13.3
7.6
12.6
8.4
7.6
9.1
4.7
5.1
7.7
3.2
6.5
4.3
10.4
6.5
6.2
3.6
2.6
3.6
5.9
4.7
2.6
1.7
20.1
0 20 40 60 80 100
IT
PT
ES
NL
CZ
EL
PL
FR
NMS-10
EU25
EU15
SK
UK
FI
DK
BE
SE
LV
HU
CY
SI
LU
AT
EE
DE
LT
MT
IE
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your fixed phone supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 61
The percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers vary considerably from one
member state to another. The difference between the highest (Ireland) and the lowest
(Italy) percentages of satisfied consumers is greater than 50 percentage points.
The countries with very high percentages of satisfied consumers by comparison with the
EU25 average are Ireland, Malta, Lithuania, Germany, Estonia, Austria, Luxembourg,
Slovenia, Cyprus, Hungary, Latvia, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and the UK.
Ireland
has the highest percentage of satisfied consumers (78%).
On the other hand, countries with the lowest percentages of satisfied consumers are found
in:
Poland, Greece (45% each)
Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Spain (between 35% and 40%)
Portugal and Italy (less than 30% of satisfied consumers)
Overall, southern European countries (except Malta and Cyprus) appear to have the
lowest
percentages of satisfied consumers.
In addition, consumers in the Czech Republic (23%) and Portugal (20%) are most
dissatisfied
with fixed telephone services by comparison with other SGIs. The percentage of
dissatisfied consumers in Italy, Poland and Hungary is between 10% and 15%. The
member
states with the lowest percentage of dissatisfied consumers are Ireland, Austria and Malta
(less than 3%).
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62 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
4.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUP
The following graph shows the percentage of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic category.
FT. 3 Fixed telephony: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category -
percentages (2006)
51.3
52.6
47.3
50.9
56
50
54.3
51.5
42.1
40.5
50.6
55.4
52.5
41.4
49.9
54.9
58.3
8.7
9.8
8.9
6.9
7.9
8.5
8.1
10.8
13.9
7.7
7.9
7.8
11
7.9
5.1
6.9
8.1
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your fixed phone supplier?
% by socio-demographics
Gender Age Education Occupation
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 63
Once again, retired people are relatively more satisfied (58%), as are white collar workers
(55.5%). Both groups are significantly more satisfied than the EU25 average. They are
followed by unemployed people (55%), blue collar workers (52%), managers (51%) and
house-persons (50%).
Finally, students (41%) and self-employed people (40.5%) are significantly less satisfied
than the average. These two groups also include the highest percentage of dissatisfied
consumers (over 10%).

Education does not seem to explain how far consumers are or are not satisfied with their
fixed telephone service.
The graph also shows that, the older the consumer, the more satisfied he/she is with
his/her fixed telephone service.
There are no differences between men and women in this respect.
4.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS ARISING DIRECTLY FROM THE
SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
Whereas fixed telephone operators enjoy a positive image in most EU countries, with
results above 50%, consumers from 6 countries take the opposite view: Portugal (25%),
Italy (31%), Spain (35%), Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden (39% each).
B) OVERALL QUALITY
More than 70% of users in Slovenia, Lithuania, Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Belgium,
Estonia,
Germany and Hungary think that their fixed telephone provider offers a quality service
overall whereas this is the case for only 33% of Italians and Portuguese and 47% of
Dutch
citizens.
C) OVERALL PRICE
Germany and Ireland are the countries where fixed telephone users are the most satisfied
with the overall prices charged by their operator (61% of them are ‘satisfied’ in both
countries). At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest percentages (less than 40%) of
consumers satisfied with the prices they pay are to be found in most of the southern
European countries (Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece and Malta).
D) COMMITMENT
The level of commitment towards their current fixed telephone operators is relatively
high
in the European Union. Indeed, 77% of consumers said they will still use their fixed
telephone supplier in the next 12 months. In Luxembourg and Greece, this is the case for
more than 9 users out of 10. People in the Czech Republic and in Estonia, on the other
hand, show the lowest level of commitment (61%).
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64 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
Most of the EU25 consumers (84%), especially in the EU15 (85% against 79% in the
NMS10),
think that fixed telephone services are available for everybody in their country. In
Greece,
Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands this is true for more than 90% of users. The lowest
percentage of people agreeing with this statement can be found in Latvia (64%).
In terms of competition, 75% of EU25 users (77% in the EU15 and 64% in the NMS10)
believe
that it is possible to get what they want from any fixed telephone supplier without a
reduction in quality. Irish, Dutch and German consumers agree with this statement most
(more than 80% in each country) whereas people in Latvia (32%), Malta (35%),
Lithuania
(43%) and the Czech Republic (46%) agree with it least. However, a lower percentage of
EU25 users think (67% of EU25 consumers against 69% in the EU15 and 57% in the
NMS10)
that it would be easy to change from one operator to another, especially in Ireland
(81%).
The lowest percentages of people agreeing with this statement are to be found in Latvia,
Lithuania, Malta and Czech Republic (30%, 35%, 37% and 48% respectively).
A small percentage of EU25 consumers (28%) believe that it is possible to buy fixed
telephone services from another country. However, in Ireland, almost half of the
users
believe that it is possible.
Finally, a large majority of EU25 citizens (80%) who use fixed telephone services prefer
to
deal with a national operator.
4.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION
As shown in the table below, pricing issues have the biggest impact on consumers’
overall
satisfaction, followed by image and quality.
Regression coefficients
Quality 0.241
Image 0.428
Pricing 0.464
Given the low impact that this criterion has on consumer satisfaction, people do not
appear to have particular expectations regarding quality. This may be due to the fact that
the quality of their fixed telephone service is taken for granted by consumers.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 65
B) OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
The diagram below shows the areas where priority actions are needed to improve
consumers’ satisfaction with the electricity supply service.
The diagram is put together by taking into account the following information:
• the average satisfaction score given by consumers to each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the X-axis of the diagram);
• The weighting or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumers’ satisfaction - this weighting gives an indication as to how important
each criterion is to consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the Y-axis of the
diagram).
FT. 4 Two-Dimensional analysis – Fixed telephone
Importance +
Priority actions
Commercial offer (6.92)
Overall price (6.73)
Price level (6.15)
Overall image (7.21)
Environment friendly (7.15)
Ease (6.96)
Reputation (6.89)
Uniqueness (6.76)
Customer mentality (6.74)
Ideal situation
Payment process (8.03)
Accuracy (7.37)
Transparency (7.27)
Popularity (7.65)
State of the art (7.63)
Familiarity (7.25)
Relationship (7.24)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Availability (7.21)
Questions/problem handling
(7.07)
Points of sale (6.64)
Long term actions
Order ease (7.82)
Reliability( 7.68)
Infrastructure (7.62)
Confidentiality (7.6)
Overall quality (7.53)
Offer relevance (7.47)
Staff professionalism (7.37)
Technical support (7.35)
Information (7.3)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
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66 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
OVERALL OBSERVATIONS
The average satisfaction score that consumers give to all the items is 7.24 out of 10. For
fixed telephony, consumers give a satisfaction score of 7.2 to the elements related to
image and 6.7 to those related to pricing, which is below the average.
At the same time, pricing and image are of high importance for consumers i.e. they have
the biggest impact on consumers’ overall satisfaction.
Therefore, efforts should be focused in these two areas in order to increase consumers’
overall satisfaction with their fixed telephone service.
SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST
PRICE
The level of price (‘price level’ in the diagram) for fixed telephone services is one of the
main sources of dissatisfaction for EU25 consumers.
Historically, the price of telecommunications has been high in Europe compared to other
countries such as the United States, Canada or even Hong Kong, where local calls were
free. Recently, several factors have raised the price consciousness of EU consumers
(liberalisation of the telecoms industry has put the spotlight on the different tariffs
charged by different operators in different countries, competition between information
technologies (e.g. Voice over Internet Protocol). All these factors make fixed telephony a
basic service that consumers are not ready to pay much for any more. Consequently, in a
number of countries, the penetration of mobile telephony has recently become higher
than
that of fixed telephony. All of this could explain why, in spite of considerable price
reductions since 2000, the pricing of fixed phone services is still a point of dissatisfaction
for EU consumers.
Commercial offers from fixed telephone operators (the lack of special prices for specific
target groups or specific usage) are also a source of dissatisfaction for consumers.
Both price level and commercial offers are two areas that need special attention and on
which action for improvement should focus.
IMAGE
Consumer expect their fixed telephone operator to
• have a unique image that other operators do not have
• have a consumer service mentality;
• have a good reputation;
• be flexible, i.e. they would like to be able to deal with their operator easily;
• be environmentally-friendly.
However, on the evidence of the low satisfaction scores given by consumers, their
expectations are not being met in these areas.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 67
It may well be that, although operators are offering more and more tailor-made solutions
in terms of tariffs and services (e.g. second call signal, voice mail, forwarding, caller ID),
the great diversity of tariffs makes the assessment of the best offer and the most
interesting supplier difficult for consumers. Consequently, there is no consensus in the
overall opinion about a particular operator.
Nevertheless, according to the second quadrant of the diagram, consumers think that their
operator is popular, they are familiar with their operator (they understand what they do)
and they are satisfied with the relationship they have with them. In addition, their
operator is technologically advanced and has the ability to innovate.
QUALITY
As mentioned before, quality of service does not have a big impact on consumer
satisfaction. This does not mean that quality is not important for consumers. It may just
mean that quality is generally guaranteed and therefore consumers tend to take it for
granted. They do not have particular expectations in this respect.
CONCLUSIONS
Considering these observations and the fact that the criteria of image and pricing are the
elements that have the most influence on consumers’ overall satisfaction, the following
are potential ways in which fixed telephony services could be improved:
o decreasing the price level combined with increasing the quality and visibility of
commercial tariffs;
o improving the overall image of the service providers in terms of reputation and
customer service mentality.
On the other hand, the positive elements of the fixed phone services that must be
maintained are:
o the transparency, accuracy and quality of the payment process;
o the overall quality of the services provided.
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68 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
5. Mobile phone service
5.1. OVERALL RESULTS
Amongst the 11 SGIs surveyed in this study, mobile phone services are among the most
appreciated, especially in the NMS10.
This difference is clear from the much higher percentage of satisfied consumers in the
NMS10, as shown in the graph below.
MP. 1 Mobile phone: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006)
72.8 3.9
64.4 4.2
65.9 4.1
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your mobile phone supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 69
5.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
The following graph shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied respondents for
each of the countries:
MP. 2 Mobile phone: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006)
41.7
49.7
51
55.3
64.4
65.9
67.2
67.5
68.8
69.2
70.9
71.4
71.7
72.7
72.8
73
73
73.8
74.4
76.4
76.8
78.3
79.1
79.6
79.9
82.9
83.5
83.9
8.7
2.5
6.4
4.1
3.4
2.6
3.4
2.7
6
4.8
3.4
4.1
2.6
5.8
1.3
2.4
2.8
1.7
3.6
2.3
2.5
2.1
2.9
0.7
4.1
3.9
4.2
2.6
0 20 40 60 80 100
ES
IT
NL
FR
EU15
EU25
PL
UK
PT
LU
EL
DK
SE
FI
NMS10
SK
IE
CZ
BE
AT
SI
EE
LT
MT
LV
HU
DE
CY
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your mobile phone supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
Most countries have higher percentages of satisfied consumers than the EU25 does on
average. This is especially the case for Cyprus, Belgium and Hungary.
The lowest percentages of satisfied consumers are to be found in France (55%), the
Netherlands and Italy (about 50%) and finally Spain (42%).
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70 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
5.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUP
The following graph shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic category:
MP. 3 Mobile phone: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category -
percentages (2006)
65.5
66.4
65.4
65.7
67
62.2
66.3
67.4
65.2
60
69.7
67.2
67
63.9
65.7
65.6
65.4
4
4.6
4.3
3.1
3.2
4.4
3.9
4.5
4.5
3.2
3.8
4.9
4.2
3
5
4.2
4.2
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your mobile phone supplier?
% by socio-demographics
The only socio-demographic group characteristic that has an influence on consumer
satisfaction is their level of education. The more consumers are educated, the more they
tend to be satisfied with their mobile phone services.
Gender Age Education Occupation
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 71
5.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS ARISING DIRECTLY FROM THE
SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
Operators in the new member states enjoy a more positive image than those in the EU15
do. Indeed, for 80% of those in the NMS10, their mobile provider has a good overall
reputation in the market (against 66% in the EU15). This is especially the case for the
Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia.
In the EU15, Germans are the first to think that their mobile phone operator enjoys a
good
overall reputation (82%). At the other extreme, less than 50% of Spaniards and Dutch
people say that their mobile phone operator has a good reputation (44% and 48%
respectively).
B) OVERALL QUALITY
In terms of quality, users in the new member states are also more satisfied with the
services provided by their operator than users in the EU15 are (80% for the former
against
69% for the latter). The results by country are similar to the overall picture across the EU.
Dutch people are more satisfied with their supplier’s quality of service (56%) than with
its
overall image in the market (48%). Italy and Spain are the two countries where the lowest
percentage of people satisfied with the overall quality of their mobile phone provider are
to be found (47% and 43% respectively).
C) OVERALL PRICE
Mobile phone users are relatively satisfied with their operator’s prices (55% of
consumers
in the EU25 are satisfied). This is especially the case in the new member states (65%
against 53% in the EU15).
At the individual country level, in countries such as Ireland, Cyprus, Poland, Denmark,
Austria, Slovenia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and
Germany, the percentage of people who are satisfied with their operator’s prices ranges
from 60% to 77%. In 6 countries, this percentage falls below 50%: Spain (26%), Italy
(39%),
the Netherlands (42%), France and Portugal (44% each) as well as Sweden (46%).
D) COMMITMENT
The level of commitment towards mobile telephone operators is relatively high in the
European Union. Indeed, 84% of consumers say they will still use their mobile telephone
supplier in the next 12 months. In the new member states, 88% say they will still use their
mobile telephone supplier in the next 12 months. In Portugal, Greece, Latvia, Czech
Republic and Hungary, the level of commitment is higher than 90%. In Denmark, 76%
say
they will keep their provider but 15% will not, which is the highest score compared to the
EU average (7%). In Cyprus, almost a quarter could not make up their minds (24% of
‘don’t
knows’ against an EU average of 9%).
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72 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
Most of the EU25 consumers (88%) think that mobile telephone services are available for
everybody in their country. In Greece and Ireland this is true for 98% and 96% of users
respectively. The lowest percentage of people agreeing with this statement is to be found
in Cyprus (60%).
89% of EU25 users (90% in the EU15 and 86% in the NMS10) believe that there is
enough
competition on the mobile phone market. This is especially the case for Greeks (98%),
Estonians (97%), Latvians and British people (95% each), Dutch people (94%), Germans
and
Portuguese (93%), Spaniards (91%) and Polish (90%) whereas in Malta it is only the case
for
52% of consumers.
A lower percentage of EU25 users (78% of the EU25 as against 77% in EU15 and 82%
in the
NMS10) think that it would be easy to change from one operator to another. In France
and
Denmark it appears to be more difficult than in other countries, as only 54% and 60%
respectively say that there are no barriers.
A larger percentage of EU25 consumers (41%) believe that there is a possibility of
buying
mobile telephone services from another country than it is the case for fixed telephony
(28%). However, only 23% of Danes, 27% of Maltese and 28% of Lithuanians and
Slovenians
think that buying mobile telephone services from another country is possible.
Finally, a large majority of EU25 citizens (79%) who use mobile telephone services
prefer
to deal with an operator in their country.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 73
5.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION
As shown in the table below, pricing is the criterion that has the biggest impact on
consumers’ overall satisfaction, i.e. consumers’ biggest expectations regard pricing first.
The second most important criterion is image, followed by quality in third place.
Regression coefficients
Quality 0.278
Image 0.335
Pricing 0.435
B) ASSESSMENT OF DIFFERENT VARIABLES
It is important to consider the following information, which is reported in the diagram on
the next page, in order to define precise and concrete actions to improve consumers’
satisfaction with their mobile phone service:
• the average satisfaction score given by consumers to each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the X-axis of the diagram);
• The weighting or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumers’ satisfaction - this weighting gives an indication as to how important
each criterion is to consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the Y-axis of the
diagram).
The areas where priority actions are needed to improve consumers’ satisfaction with their
mobile phone services are set out in this diagram.
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74 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
MP. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Mobile phone
Importance +
Priority actions
Transparency (7.76)
Commercial offer (7.68)
Overall price (7.47)
Price level (7.19)
Reputation (7.77)
Familiarity (7.74)
Ease (7.73)
Customer mentality (7.57)
Environment friendly (7.34)
Uniqueness (7.06)
Ideal situation
Payment process (8.28)
Accuracy (7.85)
State of the art (8.15)
Popularity (8.1)
Relationship (7.97)
Overall image (7.96)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Questions/problem handling
(7.76)
Safety (7.72)
Points of sale (7.5)
Long term actions
Order ease (8.36)
Confidentiality (8.08)
Infrastructure (8.07)
Overall quality (8.05)
Staff professionalism (8)
Offer relevance (7.98)
Information (7.93)
Reliability( 7.93)
Availability (7.91)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
OVERALL OBSERVATIONS
Consumers are very satisfied with all the elements regarding quality of service and image
of their mobile phone operator. The average score given by respondents for the quality
criterion is 8.1 and for image (8.0) while price, which is the main element of importance
for consumers overall, obtained a lower satisfaction score (7.5).
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 75
SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST
PRICE
The elements of pricing which do not meet consumers’ expectations are the following:
• the price level of mobile phone services;
• commercial offer: there are not enough attractive special tariffs for specific target
groups or for specific usage;
• transparency of tariffs and invoices: they are not clear and not easy to understand.
Given the fact that pricing is the criterion of highest importance for consumers, priority
actions should be taken in this area.
IMAGE
Another source of discontent for consumers is the fact that their provider has no unique
image. Consumers expect more differentiation between providers. This might be
explained
by the fact that, given the many providers, products, services and tariff plans on the
market, consumers find it difficult to distinguish between the specificities of the
providers
and to make the best choice.
In addition, consumers are concerned about the environment and the effect mobile
services have on the environment. In this respect, mobile phone operators do not meet
consumers’ expectations.
These elements are two areas of interest where immediate action is needed to improve
consumers’ overall satisfaction with mobile phone services.
On the other hand, consumers believe that operators are technologically innovative,
which
is of high importance to them. This observation suggests that efforts should be made to
maintain this situation.
QUALITY
There is no particular need for improvement in the short term. Although consumers are
not
happy with the way operators deal with their problems and questions, these elements are
of less importance for them given the distance between points of sale and their home and
the safety of mobile phone services. These elements have a low impact on consumers’
overall satisfaction.
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76 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
CONCLUSIONS
Given the above, the following are the main opportunities for action that could increase
consumer satisfaction:
o bringing down prices whilst increasing the range of attractive special tariffs for
specific target groups or specific usage;
o strengthening the image of the operators, bringing more differentiation onto the
market so that operators get a unique image for consumers as well as a good
reputation;
o improving the customer service mentality;
o raising operators’ awareness of environmental issues which translate into
appropriate measures in this field.
On the other hand, items with which consumers are most satisfied and that must be
preserved are:
o the use of new technologies and the capacity to innovate;
o quality of service;
o flexibility in the payment process, making it easy for consumers to pay their
invoices.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 77
6. Urban transport
6.1 OVERALL RESULTS
Urban transport is the SGI with which consumers in the EU are least satisfied. The EU25
average is 7.0 on a scale from 1 to 10.
As shown in the graph below, consumers in the new member states are less satisfied with
this SGI than EU15 consumers are. Indeed, 40.3% of NMS10 consumers are satisfied
while
45.2% of EU15 consumers are satisfied. There are also more dissatisfied consumers in
the
NMS10 compared to EU15. In addition, the proportion of dissatisfied consumers is the
highest compared to other SGIs.
UT. 1 Urban transport: percentage of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006)
40.3 14.7
45.2 8.4
44.5 9.4
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your urban transport supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
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78 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
6.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
The following graph shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers by
country.
UT. 2 Urban transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006)
21.9
23
25
29.4
33.7
35.4
37.7
39.2
39.5
40.3
40.4
42.1
42.7
43.3
44.5
45.2
46.4
49.2
49.7
52.3
53.6
57.1
57.4
57.5
61
62
63.9
65.6
31.5
3.7
15.9
13.7
10.7
22.2
10.8
17.3
14.7
5.1
16.7
18.8
6.7
9.4
8.4
12.4
7.2
10.9
7.8
8
3.9
6.8
9.4
7.2
4.2
5
5
53.8
0 20 40 60 80 100
SK
CY
NL
MT
IT
ES
HU
PL
SE
NMS10
PT
DK
CZ
UK
EU25
EU15
SI
FR
EE
DE
EL
BE
LT
LU
AT
LV
FI
IE
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your urban transport supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 79
Satisfaction with urban transport varies from country to country in the EU25.
The most satisfied consumers are to be found in Ireland, Finland, Latvia, Austria,
Luxembourg, Lithuania, Belgium, Greece, Germany, Estonia, France and Slovenia. The
percentages of satisfied consumers in these countries are higher than the EU25 average
and range from 65.6% in Ireland to 46.4% in Slovenia.
On the other hand, in Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands,
Cyprus and Slovakia, fewer than 4 consumers out of 10 are satisfied with urban transport.
In Slovakia, only 22% are satisfied with this SGI.
The highest percentages of dissatisfied consumers are in Malta (54%) and Slovakia
(31.5%).
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80 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
6.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUP
The following graph shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic group:
UT. 3 Urban transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic category -
percentages (2006)
43.5
45.3
39.3
42.3
51.2
46.9
46.7
42.6
34.7
40.2
38.7
40.5
48
35.6
45.2
48.8
55.3
9.8
11.4
9.6
7.3
8.1
8.2
10.6
13.5
14
11.5
8
8.4
12.2
8.1
9.5
7.4
9
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your urban transport supplier?
% by socio-demographics
Gender Age Education Occupation
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 81
Retired consumers are once again the most satisfied consumers (55%) compared to other
socio-economic groups. They are followed by the unemployed and blue collar workers.
The
highest percentage of dissatisfied consumers is among the self-employed (14%).
In terms of education levels, consumers who left secondary school early and those who
stopped studying between 16 and 19 years appear to be the most satisfied (around 47%)
compared to those who kept on studying after they were 20 years old (43%).
Consumers’ ages tends to be an element that might explain satisfaction with urban
transport. The older the respondents, the more satisfied they are with this SGI.
There is no significant difference between men and women in terms of how far they are
satisfied with urban transport.
6.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS ARISING DIRECTLY FROM THE
SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
Operators in Ireland, Finland, Austria, Latvia, Greece, Belgium, Germany and
Luxembourg
have a good reputation, according to more than 50% of users. In Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia
and Denmark less than 20% of consumers see them as having a good reputation.
B) OVERALL QUALITY
In terms of quality of service, users in the EU15 are more satisfied with their urban
transport services than users in the NMS10 (44% for the former against 37% for the
latter).
Overall, the results by country show similar profiles of responses to what has been
observed in the EU as a whole.
C) OVERALL PRICE
Users in Ireland and Latvia are the most satisfied with the prices they pay for urban
transport services. Indeed, 56% of users in both countries said prices were fair (against an
EU25 average of 35%). The least satisfied are users in the Netherlands (17%), Slovakia
(18%), Portugal (19%) and Denmark (20%).
The percentage of dissatisfied people is relatively high in the European Union (14%),
especially in Denmark (41%), Slovakia (36%) and Hungary (25%). In the first two
countries
mentioned, the percentage of dissatisfied users is even greater than the percentage of
satisfied users.
D) COMMITMENT
In countries where people can have a choice between urban transport companies (i.e.
Belgium, Greece, Finland, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal,
Slovakia, Sweden and the UK) a large majority of users (89%) have no intention of
changing
service provider in the short run (within a year).
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E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
Most of the EU25 users (69%), especially in the NMS10 (77% against 67% in the EU15)
think
that urban transport services are available for everybody in their country. However, this is
the case for only 24% of users in Cyprus and 47% in Sweden.
In terms of competition, the majority of EU users of urban transport services do not think
that there is enough competition (62%), especially in Sweden (84%), France (83%), the
Netherlands (72%) and Slovakia (71%) whereas in Portugal and Ireland, users tend to
have
the opposite feeling (58% and 53% respectively saying that there is not enough
competition). In addition, more than 5 users out of 10 feel that it would not be easy to
change from one urban transport company to another.
A small percentage of EU25 users (15%) think that it is possible to buy urban transport
services in another EU country.
Finally, roughly in line with what has been observed for other services, a large majority
of
EU25 citizens (77%) prefer to deal with a national operator when it comes to urban
transport.
6.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION
As can be seen in the following table, the image of a given urban transport company is
the
most important criterion determining consumers’ overall satisfaction.
The regression coefficient for image, which indicates the importance or weight of image
in
the overall satisfaction of consumers, is greater than 0.5.
This means that actions that would improve the image of urban transport companies
would
result in a bigger increase in the percentage of consumers satisfied with this SGI than if
these actions were focused on pricing or quality.
As an example, if consumer satisfaction with image increased by 10% as a result of
specific
actions, the percentage of consumers satisfied with this SGI would increase by more than
5
percentage points. Actions focused on pricing would only increase the percentage of
satisfied consumers by less than 4 percentage points.
Regression coefficients
Quality 0.347
Image 0.516
Pricing 0.394
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 83
B) OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
As noted before, urban transport is the the SGI that satisfies consumers least. We also
know that image and then pricing are criteria of importance for consumers.
In order to design actions that would improve consumers’ overall satisfaction with urban
transport, it is important to determine the priority areas that need special attention.
This is done by means of a diagram taking into account the following information:
• the average satisfaction score given by consumers to each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the X-axis of the diagram)
• The weighting or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumers’ satisfaction - this weighting gives an indication as to the importance of
each criterion to consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the Y-axis of the diagram).
The diagram on the following page shows the areas where priority actions are needed to
improve consumers’ overall satisfaction with urban transport.
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84 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
UT. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Urban transport
Importance +
Priority actions
Relationship (6.81)
Environment friendly (6.72)
Reputation (6.67)
Ease (6.54)
Customer mentality (6.4)
Uniqueness (6.28)
Overall price (6.59)
Price level (6.03)
Ideal situation
Popularity (7.35)
Familiarity (7.07)
Overall image (6.88)
State of the art (6.82)
Reputation (7.32)
Payment process (7.67)
Commercial offer (7.23)
Transparency (7.14)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Reliability (6.8)
Technical support (6.77)
Questions/problem handling
(6.49)
Availability (6.24)
Information (5.46)
Long term actions
Order ease (7.75)
Network (7.33)
Points of sale (7.16)
Overall quality (7)
Infrastructure (6.96)
Comfort (6.89)
Safety (6.89)
Offer relevance (6.87)
Staff professionalism (6.84)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 85
OVERALL OBSERVATIONS
Consumers seem to be more satisfied with the quality of urban transport services and the
image of urban transport companies than with pricing issues. The satisfaction scores
given
by respondents are 7.0, 6.9 and 6.6 respectively.
However, the regression coefficient mentioned in the previous section showed that image
and not pricing is the criterion consumers consider to be the most important.
It is therefore important to look into the elements of image and, to a lesser extent, pricing
that need to be improved in order to increase consumers’ overall satisfaction with
urban
transport.
The areas that need to be improved will be determined by looking at how far people are
satisfied with the elements of image and pricing and how important they are for them.
These are illustrated in the diagram on the previous page.
SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST
IMAGE
Although urban transport companies seem to enjoy a positive image overall, 4 elements
are sources of dissatisfaction among consumers:
• urban transport companies do not seem to have a unique image – consumers expect
more differentiation between theses companies;
• they also would like to have easier contact with these companies and request more
flexibility;
• transport companies need to have a good reputation;
• these companies need have more of a ‘customer service mentality’.
Consumers also see being ‘environmentally-friendly’ as an important criterion, which
does
not seem to be being met by transport companies that they use. This might reflect the fact
that consumers are more and more concerned about environmental issues and they feel
that it is necessary to look for alternative solutions in terms of energy sources used
in
urban transport.
PRICING
Although consumers feel that urban transport companies offer attractive special tariffs for
specific targets and usage, that invoices and tariffs are easy to understand and that
payment of tickets is fairly easy, using this service is still expensive.
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86 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
QUALITY
There are no particular improvements to be introduced as priorities as far as quality of
service is concerned. This observation does not necessarily imply that consumers do not
see ‘safety’ or ‘comfort’ in urban transport as being important. It might reflect the idea
that consumers feel constantly satisfied and safe when using urban transport services. The
overall results suggest that consumers are positively satisfied with the point of sales - it is
easy for them to buy tickets.
CONCLUSIONS
Priority actions should be taken in the following areas in order to increase consumer
satisfaction:
o strengthening the supplier image by developing a unique image, improving
customer service mentality, making consumers contact easier and improving the
consumers’ relationship with their supplier and increasing urban transport’s
awareness of environmental issues. All these actions should reinforce the overall
reputation of these companies;
o bringing down the prices of urban transport services.
On the other hand, items that give the most satisfaction level to consumers must be
maintained, such as:
o the payment process, the transparency of invoices and tariffs and commercial
offers plus their ability to innovate (‘state of the art’).
Finally, in the long run it would be appropriate to take the following measures to boost
consumers’ overall satisfaction with urban transport:
• raising consumers’ awareness of the high quality of transport infrastructure and
network and the availability of many points of sale which can be found everywhere.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 87
7. Extra-urban transport
7.1. OVERALL RESULTS
Extra-urban transport is also one of the SGIs with which consumers are the least satisfied
(average satisfaction score of 7.0).
Looking at the percentage of satisfied consumers in the EU25 (45.6%) as shown in the
graph
below, it appears that consumers in the NMS10 are more satisfied with extra-urban
transport services than consumers in the EU15 are. The percentage of dissatisfied
consumers is also higher in these countries than in the EU15 (12% of them being
dissatisfied
as against 9.9% of them being dissatisfied in the EU15).
EUT. 1 Extra-urban transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers -
percentages (2006)
47.1 12
45.3 9.9
45.6 10.3
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your extra-urban transport supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
Questions not asked for that service in Cyprus and Malta
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88 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
7.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
EUT. 2 Extra-urban transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by
country -
percentages (2006)
24
24.2
28.6
37.5
42.4
43.6
43.7
45.3
45.6
46.2
47.1
49
50
51.5
52.2
52.6
54.1
54.2
55.4
55.5
58
63.4
66.2
66.5
67.4
72.4
6
23.4
17.1
16.2
5.1
17
9.9
10.3
7.4
12
12.7
17.6
8.3
4.6
7.2
7.9
6.8
6.3
4.5
6.3
4.4
3.5
5.2
3.3
3.3
18
0 20 40 60 80 100
NL
IT
SK
DK
DE
ES
CZ
EU15
EU25
PL
NMS10
AT
HU
SI
BE
FR
SE
LU
UK
PT
EE
EL
LV
LT
FI
IE
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your extra-urban transport
supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
Questions not asked for that service in Cyprus and Malta
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 89
The most satisfied consumers are to be found in Ireland (72%), Finland, Lithuania,
Latvia
and Greece, with the percentage of satisfied consumers ranging from 63% to 67%,
followed
by consumers in Estonia, Portugal, the UK, Luxembourg and Sweden, with figures from
54%
to 58%, and finally France and Belgium, which are slightly above the average (52%).
In Denmark the percentage of satisfied consumers is well below the average (37.5%). In
Slovakia, Italy and the Netherlands the percentage of satisfied consumers is below 30%.
23% of Slovakians are dissatisfied consumers. In six other countries – Italy, Hungary,
Denmark, the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria – the percentage of dissatisfied
consumers is between 13% and 18%.
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7.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUP
The following graph shows the proportion of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic group:
EUT. 3 Extra-urban transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic
category - percentages (2006)
45.9
45.3
42.1
44.8
49.8
50.3
48
43.6
31.8
45.3
45.5
42.1
49.8
31.7
49.2
46.5
52.2
11.2
12.2
10.6
8.1
7.7
9.5
10.7
17.6
10.9
10.2
12.5
8.1
16.1
6.8
13.6
6.5
9.4
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your extra-urban transport
supplier?
% by socio-demographics
Questions not asked for that service in Cyprus and Malta
Gender Age Education Occupation
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 91
The graph on the previous page shows that about half of retired people, blue collar
workers and house-persons are satisfied – which is significantly higher than the EU25
average for this sector. Around 40% of white collar workers and 30% of students are
satisfied with this SGI.
The earlier consumers left school, the more satisfied they are. Age is also related to
satisfaction: older consumers are more satisfied and there are more dissatisfied
consumers
among younger people. Men and women do not differ in this respect.
7.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS ARISING DIRECTLY FROM THE
SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
Operators in Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Greece, the UK, Slovenia, Estonia,
Portugal and Poland have a good reputation according to more than 50% of the users. In
Denmark and the Netherlands, less than 20% think that the operators have a good
reputation.
B) OVERALL QUALITY
Overall, the results by country show similar patterns of responses to what has been
observed for the EU as a whole.
C) OVERALL PRICE
Users in Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary and the UK are the most satisfied with
the
prices they pay for extra-urban transport services (more than 50% of users are satisfied).
The least satisfied are users in the Netherlands (14%), Italy (18%), Slovakia (22%) and
Denmark (28%).
The percentage of dissatisfied people is relatively high in the European Union (15%), in
particular in Denmark (34%) and Slovakia (33%). In both countries mentioned, the
percentage of dissatisfied users is even greater than that of satisfied users.
D) COMMITMENT
In countries where people can choose between extra-urban transport companies (all
except Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, France, Hungary, Luxembourg and Malta) a large
majority of users (88%) have no intention of changing service provider in the short run
(within a year).
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E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
Most of the EU25 users (70%) think that extra-urban transport services are available for
everybody in their country, especially in Greece (91%). However, this is the case for only
48% of users in Sweden.
In terms of competition, EU users of extra-urban transport services are split when asked
to
say whether there is enough competition in their country or not. Indeed, 46% answer that
there is enough competition and the same percentage takes the opposite view. However,
users in the new member states have a more positive assessment than users in the EU15:
in
the former group, 51% think that there is enough competition while only 44% of the latter
group think that there is enough competition.
The majority of users in Austria, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia and
Sweden do
not think that there is enough competition while the majority of users in Estonia, Spain,
Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and the UK think that there is enough
competition.
A small percentage of EU users (30%) think that it is possible to buy extra-urban
transport
services across borders. However, the percentage is higher than it was for urban transport
(15%).
Finally, roughly in line with what has been observed for other services, a majority of
EU25
citizens (75%) prefer to deal with a national operator when it comes to urban transport.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 93
7.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION
The regression coefficients (i.e. the importance or weight in the overall consumers’
satisfaction) of the criteria of pricing, quality and image in extra-urban transport services
are shown in the table below:
Regression coefficients
Quality 0.326
Image 0.532
Pricing 0.384
As with urban transport, consumers have the highest expectations when it comes to the
image of extra-urban transport companies. Their overall satisfaction with this SGI is
influenced to a great extent by this criterion.
Pricing is the second most important criterion for consumers.
B) OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
As noted before, extra-urban transport is the SGI that satisfies consumers least. We also
know that image, followed by pricing, are important criteria for consumers.
It is important to determine the areas that need special priority attention in order to
design actions that would improve consumers’ overall satisfaction with extra-urban
transport.
This is done via a diagram, which takes into account the following information:
• the average satisfaction score given by consumers to each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the X-axis of the diagram)
• The weighting or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumers’ satisfaction - this weighting gives an indication as to how important
each criterion is for consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the Y-axis of the
diagram).
The diagram on the following page shows the areas where priority actions are needed to
improve consumers’ overall satisfaction with extra-urban transport.
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94 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
EUT. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Extra-urban transport
Importance +
Priority actions
Environment friendly (6.81)
Uniqueness (6.58)
Reputation (6.57)
Ease (6.55)
Customer mentality (6.49)
Transparency (6.8)
Overall price (6.53)
Price level (6.03)
Ideal situation
Popularity (7.31)
Familiarity (7.2)
Relationship (6.98)
State of the art (6.85)
Overall image (6.83)
Payment process (7.56)
Commercial offer (7.2)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Technical support (6.8)
Reliability (6.78)
Questions/problem handling
(6.53)
Availability (6.37)
Information (5.53)
Long term actions
Order ease (7.56)
Network (7.34)
Comfort (7.16)
Safety (7.06)
Staff professionalism (7.02)
Overall quality (7.01)
Points of sale (6.93)
Infrastructure (6.87)
Offer relevance (6.87)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 95
OVERALL OBSERVATIONS
Pricing is the main source of dissatisfaction among consumers. Indeed, they gave an
average score of 6.5, which is below the average satisfaction score. And yet, this criterion
is the second most important for consumers after image.
SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST
IMAGE
Roughly in line with what was observed for urban transport, the elements with which
consumers are the least satisfied but which are very important for them are:
• ‘environmental-friendliness’;
• ‘uniqueness’: companies do not have a unique image;
• ‘reputation’;
• ‘ease’: it is not easy to deal with extra-urban transport companies;
• ‘customer service mentality’.
This result from the survey might be explained by the fact that extra-urban transport
suffers from a bad image due to delays, low flexibility, limited comfort, etc.
Consequently, the use of extra-urban transport (especially train transport) fell in favour of
other alternatives (e.g. car, plane). Thanks to improvements in quality, the constant rise
of mobility problems and the increase in petrol prices, there has been a renewed interest
in extra-urban transport. But the survey results show that much effort is still required to
improve the image of the sector and to increase consumer satisfaction.
PRICE
Pricing is one of the areas where action is most needed and where there are most
opportunities for action. More specifically, these actions might be taken with regard to
transparency of tariffs and price levels.
QUALITY
Results related to quality of service are similar to what was observed for urban transport.
Once again, people do not seem to have enough information about extra-urban transport.
It can be assumed that this result is linked to the insufficient visibility or availability of
timetables and/or to the information provided to passengers in the event of delays or
other problems. Consumers seem satisfied with most of the important quality-related
elements, such as comfort, network, infrastructure, safety. However, their expectations
for improvement in these areas are also low. As in other services, the consumer seems to
take quality for granted.
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CONCLUSIONS
Given these statements, suggested improvements needed to increase consumer
satisfaction, which are similar to the ones identified for urban transport, are as follows:
o the elements related to image are also the main drivers of overall satisfaction for
extra-urban transport; strengthening the supplier image by developing a unique
image, improving customer service mentality, improving the flexibility of suppliers
in terms of consumer contact and increasing attention to environmental
considerations to improve the supplier’s reputation;
o bringing down the prices of extra-urban transport services and improving the
transparency of tariffs.
On the other hand, elements with which consumers are satisfied and that need to be
maintained are:
o the payment process and commercial offers;
o several elements relating to the overall image of extra-urban transport services,
such as popularity, the way companies communicate about their activities to
consumers, the quality of customer relationships, the capacity to innovate and the
use of advanced technologies (‘state of the art’).
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8. Air transport
8.1. OVERALL RESULTS
Air transport is the service with which EU consumers are most satisfied (8.0 out of 10).
The
average level of satisfaction is even higher in the new member states (8.3).
The graph below shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers:
AT. 1 Air transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006)
72.6 3.1
65.5 3.6
66.1 3.5
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your air transport supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
The percentage of satisfied consumers is relatively high, mainly in the new member states
(nearly 3 out of 4 consumers gave a score of 8 or higher).
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8.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
The graph below shows the same figures broken down by country:
AT. 2 Air transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006)
45
51.1
52.9
56.1
59.7
62
62.4
63.6
64.1
64.1
65
65.5
66.1
66.5
67
67.6
67.7
68
72.6
73.8
75.7
76.2
77.5
78.6
82.2
82.5
83
83.2
6.1
1.2
5.7
2.4
8.2
4.5
2.9
3.9
0.9
5.1
2.6
3.6
4.4
1.3
3.6
4.5
6.9
3.8
3.2
0.7
1.1
2.5
3.5
1.7
3.1
3.5
3.6
3.4
0 20 40 60 80 100
ES
IT
NL
FR
BE
SK
SE
MT
EE
PT
DK
EU15
EU25
LU
IE
UK
PL
LV
NMS10
SI
CZ
EL
FI
LT
AT
HU
CY
DE
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your air transport supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
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The satisfaction rates in countries with a score higher than the EU25 average range from
83% (Germany) to 74% (Slovenia). Cyprus, Hungary, Austria, Lithuania, Finland,
Greece and
the Czech Republic can also be found in this group.
Only five countries drag the EU average down: Belgium, France, the Netherlands and
Italy,
with satisfaction levels from 60% to 51% and, substantially below this, Spain with 45%.
The highest percentages of dissatisfied consumers are in the Czech Republic (8%) and
Slovakia (7%), which is somewhat paradoxical since these two countries are not in the
group with the lowest satisfaction rates. More ‘logically’, Spain has a relatively high
dissatisfaction rate of 6%.
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8.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS
The following graph shows the proportion of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic category:
AT. 3 Air transport: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category -
percentages (2006)
65.7
66.6
64.7
64.7
69.4
61.5
67
67.3
60.8
64.7
63.4
64.9
71.1
62.5
66.8
66.7
70.1
4
4
3.1
3.5
5.1
3.5
3.3
2.9
5
4.1
3.8
2.8
2.5
2.1
3.4
2.9
3
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your air transport supplier?
% by socio-demographics
Gender Age Education Occupation
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 101
The professional categories that are most satisfied with air transport are blue collar
workers (71%) and retired people (70%). On the other hand, managers are relatively less
satisfied, with only 63% of respondents satisfied. This result may be related to frequency
of use of air transport but this question was not asked in the survey. However, if the
percentage of respondents who answered the questions related to air transport is used as a
proxy for frequency of use, it appears that occasional users are relatively more satisfied.
This could be due to the fact that they associate air transport with pleasurable events
(e.g. holiday, travel).
Education levels have very little impact on satisfaction. However, respondents who did
not
complete secondary school and the ones who are still studying are once again
significantly
less satisfied than the others.
Respondents aged 55 years and over are most satisfied (70%) - the other age groups are
equally satisfied (65%). Gender does not explain satisfaction levels.
8.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS ARISING DIRECTLY FROM THE
SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
In Germany, Finland and Czech Republic more than 8 users out of 10 see their air
transport
company as having a positive overall image (against an EU25 average of 65%). Although
in
Spain and Italy less than 50% of users are satisfied with their air transport company, the
percentage of dissatisfied consumers is very low (7% and 6% respectively), in line with
the
EU25 average (4%).
B) OVERALL QUALITY
The majority of users are satisfied with the overall quality of services, especially in the
new member states (76% against 67% in the EU15). Again, the Czech Republic (87%),
Germany (86%) and Finland (84%) are at the top of the list together with Hungary, where
users are a little more convinced of the quality of services provided by their air transport
company (83% against an NMS10 average of 76%) than its overall reputation on the
market
(79% against an NMS10 average of 77%).
C) OVERALL PRICE
For a large percentage of users in Germany (77%), Hungary (73%), Czech Republic
(72%),
Ireland (71%), UK (68%), Latvia (67%), Austria (66%), Slovakia (64%) and Finland
(61%), the
air transport company they use most has fair prices. This is less the case in Spain
(34%),
Italy and Portugal (both 36%), the Netherlands (37%), Sweden (43%), France (44%) and
Malta (46%).
Almost a fifth of Dutch users are dissatisfied with the prices charged by their air transport
company (against an EU25 average of 12%).
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D) COMMITMENT
Although the level of commitment to air transport companies is relatively high (76%), it
seems to be lower in the new member states (67%) than in the EU15 (77%).
More than 80% of respondents in Finland, Greece, Portugal, Luxembourg and Germany
said
they will still use their air transport company in the next 12 months whereas in 56% in
Slovakia and 59% in Hungary say they will still use their air transport company in the
next
12 months.
E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
Consumers’ preference for a national operator is less marked for air transport than for
other services, especially in the new member states (54% as against 61% in the EU15).
The
least attached to national operators are the Danes, the Swedes and the Slovenians as a
majority (more than 50%) said they do not prefer to deal with a national air transport
company. The Greeks and Cypriots have the opposite opinion (more than 80% say they
do
prefer to deal with a national air transport company). In addition, when asked whether
they think it is possible to buy air transport services from a supplier outside their country,
81% say that they think it is.
There seems to be enough competition and it seems to be easy to change from one air
transport company to another, according to more than 80% of EU consumers.
Finally, services provided by air transport companies are available for everybody and
everywhere, according to a majority of respondents in the EU25 and especially in the
EU15
(83% as against 72% in the NMS10).
8.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION
The importance of pricing, image and quality in the air transport service is shown by the
following regression coefficients:
Regression coefficients
Quality 0.369
Image 0.352
Pricing 0.364
In the air transport service, quality, image and pricing impact on consumer satisfaction to
almost the same extent. In the eyes of consumers, these factors are balanced: a reduction
in one factor can be compensated by an increase in another (e.g. a consumer is prepared
to take an airline with a somewhat lower image provided that the price is lower).
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B) OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
For the elements of pricing, image and quality, the following diagram shows the
relationship between observed satisfaction (X-axis) and the impact that these elements
have on overall consumer satisfaction (‘Importance’, Y-axis).
AT. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Air transport
Importance +
Priority actions
Questions/problem handling
(7.67)
Availability (7.4)
Points of sale (6.56)
Information (6.32)
Overall price (7.6)
Price level (7.24)
Commercial offer (6.95)
Ideal situation
Comfort (8.4)
Order ease (8.24)
Safety (8.24)
Staff professionalism (8.18)
Confidentiality (8.11)
Infrastructure (8.06)
Technical support (8.04)
Overall quality (8)
Network (7.95)
Offer relevance (7.95)
Reliability (7.89)
Payment process (8.22)
Accuracy (8.01)
Transparency (7.83)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Customer mentality (7.68)
Ease (7.58)
Uniqueness (7.24)
Environment friendly (6.96)
Long term actions
Popularity (8.11)
Relationship (8.07)
State of the art (7.95)
Overall image (7.9)
Reputation (7.86)
Familiarity (7.84)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
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OVERALL OBSERVATION
As mentioned previously, the three criteria (quality, price and image) are almost as
important as each other for consumers. They will therefore have almost the same
influence on consumers’ overall satisfaction.
However, consumers seem to be more satisfied with the overall quality of service
(average
satisfaction score of 8) and image of air transporters (7.9) than with pricing issues (7.6).
AREAS OF SPECIFIC INTEREST
PRICE
Two items related to pricing are found in the upper-left quadrant, which corresponds to
opportunities for priority actions: ‘commercial offers’ and ‘price level’. This may seem
surprising given the numerous possibilities to find cheap solutions and not to pay high
prices. The reason might be that these possibilities are only available to some specific
consumers, i.e. those who know where to find them, and, as is often the case, those who
are familiar with the use of the internet. Only the better informed and the more
knowledgeable consumers find the best promotional offers. The survey results may
therefore suggest that the digital divide continues to be a challenge if we are to deliver
equal services to EU consumers via online commercial offer and booking facilities. Other
price-related items are in the upper-right quadrant, which indicates an ideal situation that
needs to be maintained: easy means of payment (‘payment process’), ‘accuracy’ of
invoices and ‘transparency’ of tariffs.
QUALITY
In terms of quality, the lack of information about services and the presence of nearby
agencies are the main sources of dissatisfaction. The concerns about information may be
related to information provided in the event of late departures or cancellations. This
situation ought to improve in the future because of the recent legislation on EU passenger
rights. Other components of the quality and below average satisfaction are ‘availability’
and, to a lesser extent, questions/problem handling. All these items are more or less
related to service or to contact with the consumer. On the other hand, items relating to
technical matters produce very high scores, including ‘safety’ and ‘reliability’ of service,
which are important factors in air transport.
IMAGE
Working towards building a unique airline companies’ image and working on airline
companies’ impact on the environment are their main areas for improvement. The reason
that consumers are concerned about uniqueness is that there are no big differences
between airlines in terms of the product they deliver. Consumers therefore usually choose
the company that allows them to fly at the lowest price.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 105
CONCUSIONS
Potential areas for improvement in air transport are:
o to work on all the client relationship related items: handling questions and
problems, availability, presence of nearby points of sale, information and a
customer service mentality;
o to make commercial offers and special conditions easily available to everyone,
which should lead to lower perceived price levels;
o to work on parameters that could reduce the environmental impact of air transport
and/or communicate on existing action in this domain.
Strengths that should be maintained are:
o comfort, order ease, safety, staff professionalism, confidentiality, quality of the
infrastructure and technical support, the network, offer relevance, reliability;
o payment process, accuracy and transparency;
o popularity, relationship, technological innovation, reputation and information
provided to consumers about the airline companies’ activities.
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9. Postal services
9.1. OVERALL RESULTS
Postal services is one of the SGIs with which consumers are the least satisfied. Indeed,
they gave a score of 7.2 on a 10-point scale, which is similar to the rating they give to
urban and extra-urban transport.
The next graph shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers among the
respondents:
PS. 1 Postal services: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006)
62.7 7.5
50.5 6.8
52.9 6.9
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your postal services supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
In the new member states, consumers tend to be more satisfied than in the EU15. The
percentage of dissatisfied consumers is also larger in the NMS10 than in the EU15. This
observation implies that consumers in the NMS10 are less neutral or less indifferent
towards postal services.
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9.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
The following graph presents the overall results for each EU member state:
PS. 2 Postal services: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006)
28.7
43.8
44.8
46.1
47.5
47.7
50.5
51.8
52.8
52.9
55.8
57.9
58.5
59.4
61.3
61.7
62.7
64.9
66.4
67.5
67.8
69.7
70.7
71.5
74.2
77
80.2
81.7
10.2
21.7
7.3
2.5
3.8
6.8
10.7
11.6
6.9
9.2
7.6
5
5.9
7.8
8.2
7.5
3.9
5.3
2.6
4.1
4
7.6
2.8
3.6
5.8
1.2
2
6.4
0 20 40 60 80 100
IT
BE
SE
FR
NL
ES
EU15
CZ
DK
EU25
UK
AT
DE
SK
PL
MT
NMS10
PT
FI
LU
LV
EL
HU
EE
SI
CY
LT
IE
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your postal services supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
In most of the EU25 countries (in 17 countries), consumers tend to be more satisfied than
the EU25 average. This is especially the case for Ireland and Lithuania, with more than
80%
of satisfied consumers. The countries where less than 50% of consumers are satisfied are
to
be found in Spain (47.7%), the Netherlands (47.5%), France (46.1%), Sweden (44.8%),
Belgium (43.8%) and Italy (28.7%).
The highest percentages of dissatisfied consumers are in Sweden (21.7%), Denmark
(11.6%), the Czech Republic (10.7%) and Italy (10.2%).
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9.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS
The following graph shows the percentage of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic category:
PS. 3 Postal services: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category -
percentages (2006)
51.5
54.2
52.2
50.9
55.5
55.6
52.7
51.4
52.4
51.7
48.8
50.4
54.9
51.4
53.7
53.8
56.6
7.7
6.2
8.7
5.9
7
7.1
7.1
4.2
9.3
8
6.7
7.6
4.6
5.2
7.7
6.5
6.3
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your postal services supplier?
% by socio-demographics
Gender Age Education Occupation
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 109
Retired people (56.6%), blue collar workers (54.9%), the unemployed (53.8%) and
housepersons are more satisfied than other consumers.
Consumers who did not complete secondary school education are somewhat more
satisfied
(56%) with postal services than the other education groups. Consumers aged over 55 are
once again the most satisfied group (55.5%) and the people aged between 35 and 54 are
significantly less satisfied with postal services. There is no statistically significant
difference between women and men in this respect.
9.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS ARISING DIRECTLY FROM THE
SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
The highest percentage of consumers in the NMS10 agreeing with the statement that
postal
services providers have a good reputation in the market are to be found in Slovenia (75%
against an NMS average of 61%), Estonia and Lithuania (both 68%). In the EU15,
Ireland
(76% against an EU15 average of 46%), Greece (71%), Luxembourg (67%) and Finland
(63%)
have the highest percentage of consumers agreeing with the statement that postal services
providers have a good reputation in the market. Only 21% of Swedes and 29% of Italians
think so. In Sweden, 38% of consumers do not agree at all with this statement (against an
EU25 average of 9%).
B) OVERALL QUALITY
61% of consumers in the NMS10, as against 48% in the EU15, agree with the statement
that
their postal services provider offers good quality services. Results at country level are in
line with what was observed across the EU as a whole. However, it is interesting to note
that, in Sweden, 45% of consumers agree with this statement and 15% do not (against an
EU25 average of 7%). This last result contrasts with what was observed for the EU as a
whole.
C) OVERALL PRICE
Although only 39% of EU consumers think that their postal services provider’s prices
are
fair, the level of dissatisfaction with these prices is quite low (11%).
Ireland (69%) and Greece (61%) are the countries where the highest percentages of
satisfied consumers are to be found. In Italy (25%) and Sweden (26%), on the other hand,
the lowest percentages of satisfied consumers are to be found. Again, in Sweden, 37% of
people are dissatisfied with the prices charged for postal services. To a lesser extent, this
is the case for 27% of Danes and 23% of Slovaks. It is also interesting to note that, in
Italy,
the level of dissatisfied consumers is lower than the average (8% against 11% in the
EU25).
D) COMMITMENT
Given that consumers can choose between several suppliers in only two countries, survey
results concerning this area are not meaningful.
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110 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
For almost 9 consumers out of 10 in the European Union, postal services are available for
everybody and everywhere. In Sweden, this is the case for only 57% of the people. In this
country, 37% disagree with this statement (against an EU average of 10%).
A large percentage of people do not seem to think that it is possible to buy postal services
in another EU country. Only 29% of EU citizens believe that it is possible (31% in the
EU15
and 21% in the NMS10).
Finally, 83% of EU consumers prefer to deal with a national postal services company.
9.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION
Image is the criterion that seems to contribute most to consumers’ overall satisfaction, as
shown in the table below. This result seems quite logical for a proximity service such as
the postal service. One might also assume that, given the level of confidence that
consumers needs to have in a mail service provider, consumers pay particular attention to
the reputation of their provider.
Regression coefficients for
the constructed variables
Quality 0.327
Image 0.475
Pricing 0.394
B) OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
It is important to determine the areas where the SGI is not performing well and which are
very important for consumers in order to define precise and concrete actions that need to
be taken to improve consumers’ satisfaction with postal services.
This is done via a diagram, which takes into account the following information:
• the average satisfaction score given by consumers to each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the X-axis of the diagram)
• the weighting or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumers’ satisfaction - this weighting gives an indication as to how important
each criterion is to consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the Y-axis of the
diagram).
The diagram on the following page shows the areas where priority actions are needed to
improve consumers’ satisfaction with postal services.
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 111
PS. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Postal services
Importance +
Priority actions
Uniqueness (7.12)
Reputation (7.09)
State of the art (7.01)
Ease (6.95)
Customer mentality (6.8)
Overall price (6.81)
Price level (6.5)
Commercial offer (5.93)
Ideal situation
Popularity (7.88)
Familiarity (7.53)
Relationship (7.28)
Environment friendly (7.26)
Overall image (7.24)
Payment process (7.88)
Accuracy (7.53)
Transparency (7.39)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Infrastructure (7.04)
Questions/problem handling
(6.8)
Availability (6.46)
Information (5.93)
Long term actions
Points of sale (7.95)
Order ease (7.54)
Confidentiality (7.49)
Offer relevance (7.43)
Reliability (7.39)
Overall quality (7.31)
Staff professionalism (7.19)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
OVERALL OBSERVATIONS
The average satisfaction score given by EU25 consumers is 7.1.
Compared to this average, consumers are relatively more satisfied with quality (7.3) and
image (7.2) than with pricing issues (6.8).
As mentioned previously, image and, to a lesser extent, price, have the most impact on
consumers’ overall satisfaction.
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112 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST
IMAGE
The elements related to the image of postal services that provide the most satisfaction to
consumers are the following:
• ‘popularity’: postal offices are well known and are popular;
• ‘familiarity’: consumers know exactly what they do;
• ‘relationship’: people at postal offices are friendly with consumers;
• ‘environment’: they respect the environment as much as possible.
These positive results are probably due to the fact that postal mail is an old, well
identified and well-known institution in all the countries. However, results tend to
indicate
that improvement is needed in the following important areas for consumers:
• ‘uniqueness’: postal services providers need to build up a unique image to
differentiate themselves from other providers;
• ‘reputation’: they need also to acquire a positive opinion among consumers;
• ‘state of the art’: they need to innovate in terms of new technologies;
• ‘ease’: flexibility need to be improved;
• ‘customer service mentality’: they should be more customer-oriented.
QUALITY
Interestingly, consumers are quite satisfied with the points of sale, hence confirming the
good proximity service of the postal services.
However, consumers expect to receive more regular information about products and
services. They also expect their problems or questions to be dealt with quickly and
adequately. Lastly, they would like to have access to postal services when needed, at
more convenient times.
PRICE
Two very important elements of price are a source of dissatisfaction among consumers:
o ‘commercial offers’
o ‘price level’
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CONCLUSIONS
Given the above, the actions to take to improve consumers’ overall satisfaction can be
summarised as follows:
o being more consumer-focused in delivering services and in the meantime improving
the reputation of suppliers and improving suppliers’ image by providing new
specific services or products and modernising postal services by using new
technologies;
o bringing down prices and delivering more commercial offers for specific target
groups.
On the other hand, the strengths of postal services must be maintained:
o proximity, i.e. the number of points of sale;
o the transparency, accuracy and quality of the payment process;
o the popularity of the suppliers.
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10. Retail banking
10.1. OVERALL RESULTS
Overall, consumers appear to be quite satisfied with retail banking services in the EU25
(average satisfaction score of 7.8 on a scale from 1 to 10). It is one of the SGIs with
which
consumers are the most satisfied.
The following graph shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers:
RB. 1 Retail banking: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages
(2006)
67.9 4.7
62.1 4.5
63.1 4.6
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your banking retail supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
Overall, consumers in the new member states tend to be more satisfied with this SGI than
in the EU15.
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10.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
The same percentages are shown by country in the graph below:
RB. 2 Retail banking: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006)
36.7
50.5
50.9
55.5
62
62.1
63.1
64.7
64.7
65.3
67.2
67.4
67.8
67.9
71.7
74.4
75.2
75.2
75.9
77.2
77.3
78.6
80.3
80.3
80.6
84.2
86.2
87.4
7.4
5.1
7.5
4.2
5.1
2.5
2.2
4.1
7.3
4
4.7
5.8
3.6
2.3
0.9
2.9
3.1
2.6
2
1.9
0.7
1.2
2.9
0.8
4.6
4.5
4.7
2.1
0 20 40 60 80 100
IT
NL
ES
FR
PL
EU15
EU25
SK
PT
EL
UK
CZ
IE
NMS10
DK
HU
SI
LU
BE
MT
AT
DE
SE
LT
LV
EE
CY
FI
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your banking retail supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
In all the member states except in Italy a majority of consumers are satisfied with their
banking services. This is especially the case for Finland, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania
and Sweden, where more than 80% of consumers say they are satisfied.
Only 36.7% of Italians are satisfied with their banking services.
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10.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS
The following graph shows the proportion of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic category:
RB. 3 Retail banking: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-
economic category -
percentages (2006)
61.1
65.2
60.9
61.8
66.7
59.9
64.8
63.9
54
60.5
63.4
64.1
64.6
53.5
64
60.5
65.5
5.5
5.3
5.1
3.3
4.2
5
4
5.3
5.7
4.5
4.4
5.2
4.8
4.5
4.7
3.3
3.6
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your retail banking supplier?
% by socio-demographics
Gender Age Education Occupation
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Except for students, who are less satisfied than the average, the extent to which
consumers are satisfied with retail banking services cannot be explained by the
occupations of consumers.
Consumers who stopped studying at 15 (or earlier) are significantly less satisfied with
retail
banking than those who left education when they were older. Consumers who are still
studying are also significantly less satisfied.
Consumers who are aged 55 or older are significantly more satisfied than the younger
ones.
Respondents aged between 18 and 34 are significantly less satisfied with the retail
banking
services than the EU25 average.
Retail banking is the only SGI surveyed where women are significantly more satisfied
than
men (65% vs. 61%).
10.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS ARISING DIRECTLY FROM THE
SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
The consumers who are most satisfied with their retail bank’s reputation are the Latvians
(87%), the Estonians (86%), the Maltese (84%), the Finns (83%), the Cypriots and the
Czechs
(80% each). In Italy, France and Spain, this is the case for only 40%, 45% and 48% of
consumers respectively.
B) OVERALL QUALITY
Overall, the results by country show similar patterns of responses to what has been
observed for the EU as a whole.
C) OVERALL PRICE
More than 60% of consumers in Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Finland, Lithuania,
Luxembourg,
Hungary and Belgium are satisfied with the prices of retail banking services. The least
satisfied are consumers in Italy (28%), the Netherlands (38%), Portugal (38%) and
France
(39%). The percentages of dissatisfied consumers in the Czech Republic (15% against
7% of
EU25 consumers), Sweden (14%) and France (13%) are relatively high.
D) COMMITMENT
The level of commitment to a given current retail bank is very high in all EU countries
(90%). People are not ready to change banks in the short term.
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E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
Most of the EU25 users (86%) think that retail banking services are available for
everybody
in their country.
In terms of competition, EU users of retail banking services believe that there is enough
competition (87%) and that it is easy to change from one bank to another (80%).
In addition, almost half of EU25 consumers think that it is possible to purchase services
from a bank outside their country. However, they do not seem ready to do so as
a great
majority prefer national banks (83%).
10.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION
As shown in the table below, the most important criterion for consumers is pricing
followed by image. Consumers’ overall satisfaction is mostly explained by these two
criteria.
This result seems quite logical given that ‘pricing’ includes elements such as the
profitability of the products and services (e.g. the interest rate paid for a mortgage loan),
fixed costs of payments, services charges and financial gains on investments. The impact
of
‘quality’ is much more modest, indicating that consumers take quality (reliability, safety,
etc.) for granted and do not consider it as an important differentiating factor.
Regression coefficients
Quality 0.217
Image 0.381
Pricing 0.466
B) OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
The diagram on the following page shows the areas where priority actions are needed to
improve consumers’ satisfaction with retail banking services.
All the elements of pricing, image and quality have been plotted into the diagram using
two axes:
• the average satisfaction score given by consumers to each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the X axis of the diagram);
• the weighting or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumers’ satisfaction - this weighting gives an indication as to how important
each criterion is to consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the Y axis of the
diagram).
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The diagram makes it possible to identify:
• the areas where the SGI is not performing well and where action to change the
situation is needed to improve consumers’ satisfaction;
• the areas where the SGI is performing well and where no action is needed.
RB. 4 Two-dimensional analysis – Retail banking
Importance +
Priority actions
Transparency (7.71)
Commercial offer (7.34)
Overall price (7.30)
Price level (7.07)
Profitability (6.89)
Reputation (7.72)
State of the art (7.71)
Ease (7.70)
Environment friendly (7.56)
Customer mentality (7.51)
Uniqueness (7.02)
Ideal situation
Payment process (8.14)
Accuracy (7.85)
Popularity (8.01)
Relationship (7.99)
Overall image (7.83)
Familiarity (7.82)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Information (7.67)
Availability (7.33)
Long term actions
Order ease (8.27)
Confidentiality (8.24)
Safety (8.21)
Points of sale (8.14)
Reliability (8.04)
Staff professionalism (8.03)
Overall quality (8.02)
Offer relevance (7.87)
Infrastructure (7.86)
Questions/problem handling
(7.82)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
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120 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
OVERALL OBSERVATIONS
As mentioned before, the average satisfaction score of all the elements assessed by
consumers is 7.75, which puts retail among the SGIs with which consumers are most
satisfied.
In addition, the criteria that impact most on overall satisfaction are pricing and image,
while quality seems to be less important in the eyes of consumers.
The diagram shows that image and quality are the criteria with which consumers are most
satisfied. Most of our suggested improvement opportunities will therefore concern
pricing
issues.
SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST
PRICE
In terms of pricing issues, consumers are most satisfied with everything that is related to
the payment process (making payments for instance) and accuracy (of bank statements),
which can be considered as important strengths in this sector.
On the other hand, consumers are less satisfied with:
• the ‘profitability’ of investments: savings and investments do not generate
reasonable profits for consumers and loans are not offered at a good rate;
• the transparency of tariffs;
• the commercial offer: there are not enough attractive special offer for savings,
loans etc;
• the level of tariffs.
This may be explained by the fact that the consumer does not have access to the same
information about the financial markets as a bank has. He does not know exactly how the
bank invests his money and what return it obtains. Therefore, due to a lack of
transparency, the consumer may have the feeling that commercial offers are not what
they could be, price levels are too high (rates of loans) and the profitability of his
investments is limited. This feeling is may be due to insufficient or inadequate
information
(often too complicated for the average consumer).
IMAGE
Banks appear to suffer from not having a unique image (‘uniqueness’ in the diagram).
This
may be due to the relative complexity of some banking products or to the high number of
competitors in this sector.
In addition, consumers do not think that banks have enough of a ‘customer service
mentality’ and that they are not ‘environmentally-friendly’. Popularity, relationship with
the client and familiarity appear to be very important to consumers and to meet with
consumer satisfaction.
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QUALITY
Overall, banks are seen as providing quality services. Consumers are very satisfied with
most of the elements relating to this criterion.
No particular action is needed to improve the quality of service as this criterion has the
least impact on consumers’ overall satisfaction.
CONCLUSIONS
The most urgent actions to be taken to raise consumers’ overall levels of satisfaction in
the
retail banking service are related to:
o information about products/services and information about the investments banks
make with their clients’ savings;
o banks providing consumers with clearer and better commercial offers;
o the availability and accessibility of the services (linked to the ‘digital divide’).
On the other hand:
o the accuracy and ease of the payment process must continue to be safeguarded;
o the familiarity and popularity of the suppliers and the good relationship between
their staff and their clients are strengths that can be used to carry out the actions
that are needed.
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11. Insurance services
11.1. OVERALL RESULTS
Just as with banking services, EU25 consumers are very satisfied with insurance services
(average satisfaction score of 7.9 out of 10). This is also one of the most highly rated
SGIs
among those surveyed.
The following graph displays the proportion of satisfied and dissatisfied respondents:
INS. 1 Insurance: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers - percentages (2006)
62.9 5.3
64.6 2.6
64.4 3
0 20 40 60 80 100
EU25
EU15
NMS10
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your insurance supplier?
% Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied
Although there is no difference between the EU15 and the NMS10 in terms of their
percentages of satisfied respondents, there are significantly more dissatisfied consumers
in
the NMS10 than in the EU15 (although the percentages are low).
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11.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES
The percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers are shown in the following graph:
INS. 2 Insurance: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by country -
percentages (2006)
42.3
46.6
50.3
54.7
55.7
58.1
62.9
64.4
64.6
65.1
65.3
67.1
67.2
67.6
68.4
70.6
70.7
71.3
73.6
73.9
74.3
74.7
75.2
75.7
76.1
79.1
81.3
81.4
4.8
4.2
3
3.5
9
5.3
9.1
2.3
4.3
5.6
2.5
1.5
2.8
3.3
7
3.2
2.5
1.4
3.8
2.1
1.7
1.8
4.4
0.9
1.9
2.6
3
1.4
0 20 40 60 80 100
IT
NL
PT
ES
PL
SK
NMS10
EU25
EU15
CZ
FR
SE
MT
UK
EL
LV
EE
HU
DK
SI
BE
LU
FI
LT
AT
CY
IE
DE
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your insurance supplier?
Satisfied vs. Dissatisfied (% by country)
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124 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
The countries where there are higher percentages of satisfied consumers than the EU
average include the Czech Republic (65%) and Germany (81%). In this group, Germany,
Ireland, Cyprus, Austria, Lithuania, Finland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Slovenia, Denmark,
Hungary, Estonia and Latvia have 71% or more consumers that are satisfied with
insurances
services.
The figures for Greece, the UK, Malta, Sweden, France and the Czech Republic are close
to
the EU average of 64%.
Then come four countries - Slovakia, Poland, Spain and Portugal - with rates between
50%
and 58%. The Netherlands and Italy are once again at the bottom of the list with 47% and
42% of satisfied consumers respectively.
There is no country for which over 10% of consumers are dissatisfied. The three
countries
with the most dissatisfied consumers are the Czech Republic (9%), Slovakia (9%) and
Hungary (7%).
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11.3. DIFFERENCES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS
The following graph shows the percentages of satisfied and dissatisfied consumers by
socioeconomic category:
INS. 3 Insurance: percentages of satisfied vs. dissatisfied consumers by socio-economic
category -
percentages (2006)
63.5
65.3
62.5
62.1
68.3
61.4
65.2
65.5
58.1
58.9
65.7
64.9
64.6
55.8
62.3
63.1
70
3.4
3.8
3.2
2.2
2.6
3.2
2.6
5.8
4.1
1.4
2.6
3.2
6.1
2.7
3.9
2.9
2.6
Men
Women
18-34
35-54
55+
Up to 15 years
16-19 years
20 years +
Still studying
Self-employed
Managers
Other white collars
Blue collars
Students
House-persons
Unemployed
Retired
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your insurance supplier?
% by socio-demographics
Gender Age Education Occupation
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126 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
Retired people are the only socio-economic category that is significantly more satisfied
than the EU25 average (70%). Once again, self-employed people and students, with
percentages of satisfied consumers of 59% and 56% respectively, are below the EU
average.
Levels of education have some influence on how satisfied consumers are: early school
leavers and people who are still studying score significantly below the average (with 61%
and 58% respectively). Older people are once again the most satisfied group. Gender
does
not significantly impact on satisfaction.
11.4. OTHER KEY OBSERVATIONS RESULTING DIRECTLY FROM
THE SURVEY
A) OVERALL IMAGE
The consumers who are most satisfied with their insurance companies’ reputation are
located in Ireland (77%), Austria, Czech Republic and Slovenia (76% each), Lithuania
(74%),
Finland (73%) and Slovakia (71%). On the other hand, the least satisfied consumers are
to
be found in Portugal (41%), Italy (44%), Spain (46%), the Netherlands and Sweden (48%
each). However, the percentage of people who disagree with the statement that their
insurance company has a good reputation is very low in all countries (3% in the EU25).
B) OVERALL QUALITY
Overall, the results by country show similar patterns of responses to what has been
observed in the EU as a whole. However, it is interesting to note that Swedes have a
much
better assessment of the quality of services provided by their insurance company (67%)
than of the insurance company’s reputation (48%).
C) OVERALL PRICE
More than 60% of consumers in Germany, Austria, Ireland, Hungary, Belgium, Czech
Republic, Denmark and Slovenia are satisfied with the prices of insurance services. The
least satisfied consumers are from Italy (33%), Spain (38%) the Netherlands (40%),
Poland
(42%), Sweden (43%), Slovakia (45%) and France (47%). There are relatively high
percentages of dissatisfied consumers in Sweden and Portugal (16% each against an
EU25
average of 6%).
D) COMMITMENT
The level of commitment to insurance companies is very high in all the EU countries
(87%).
People tend to stay with their current insurance company and have no intention of
changing in the short term.
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E) MARKET AND PERSONAL FACTORS
Most of the EU25 users (88%) think that insurance services are available for everybody
in
their country.
EU users of insurance services believe that there is enough competition (88%) and that it
is
easy to change from one insurance company to another (77%).
A relatively small percentage of EU25 users think it is possible to purchase services from
an
insurance company outside their country (37%). They do not seem ready to do so as a
large
majority prefer national insurance companies (83%).
11.5. ADVANCED ANALYSES
A) CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION
As shown in the table below, consumers see pricing as the most important criterion,
followed by image. Consumers’ overall satisfaction is mostly explained by these two
criteria.
Regression coefficients
Quality 0.239
Image 0.317
Pricing 0.524
B) OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION
The diagram on the following page shows the areas where priority actions are needed to
improve consumers’ satisfaction with insurance services.
All the elements of pricing, image and quality have been plotted into the diagram using
two axes:
• the average satisfaction score given by consumers to each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the X axis of the diagram);
• the weighting or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumers’ satisfaction - this weighting gives an indication as to how important
each criterion is to consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the Y axis of the
diagram).
The diagram makes it possible to identify:
• the areas where the SGI is not performing well and where action to change the
situation is needed to improve consumers’ satisfaction;
• the areas where the SGI is performing well and where no action is needed.
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128 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
INS. 4 Two-dimensional analysis - Insurance
Importance +
Priority actions
Overall price (7.38)
Price level (7.31)
Commercial offer (7.21)
Profitability (5.6)
Customer mentality (7.57)
State of the art (7.48)
Environment friendly (7.34)
Uniqueness (6.87)
Ideal situation
Payment process (8.25)
Accuracy (7.99)
Transparency (7.76)
Relationship (7.99)
Overall image (7.79)
Popularity (7.79)
Familiarity (7.72)
Ease (7.71)
Reputation (7.66)
Satisfaction -
Low importance area
Information (7.27)
Points of sale (7.23)
Long term actions
Order ease (8.28)
Confidentiality (8.19)
Staff professionalism (8.09)
Safety (8.05)
Overall quality (8.01)
Reliability (7.94)
Offer relevance (7.92)
Questions/problem handling
(7.88)
Availability (7.64)
Satisfaction +
Importance -
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 129
OVERALL OBSERVATIONS
As mentioned previously, the average satisfaction score of all the elements surveyed is
7.65.
Consumers are particularly satisfied with image and quality: the average satisfaction
scores are quite high compared to other sectors (8.0 for quality and 7.8 for image).
On the other hand, consumers are least satisfied with pricing (a satisfaction score of 7.4
against an average satisfaction of 7.65) whereas it is the main criterion determining
consumers’ overall satisfaction.
SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST
PRICE
The elements of pricing which are very important to consumers but with which they are
dissatisfied are:

• ‘profitability’: consumers do not think that insurance companies share their profits
with their customers;
• commercial offers: there are not enough attractive special tariffs for specific target
groups or usage;
• price levels: prices for insurance policies are considered too expensive.
On the other hand, consumers tend to be satisfied with such items as tariff transparency,
the payment process or the possibilities offered by companies to pay their insurance
policy. In addition, insurance statements or invoices are considered as being accurate.
These results tend to indicate that consumers understand and are in control of the
insurance process. The position of these variables in the table suggests that consumers are
ready to pay for the risk cover but consider that the prices of insurance policies are too
high and that the cost of the insurance cover does not give them a return in the long term.
More particularly, the position of the items ‘commercial offer’ and ‘profitability’ could
refer to the feeling of some consumers that they are not being rewarded for their loyalty.
Indeed, they would, for instance, expect a considerable reduction in their insurance policy
in cases where they have never had an accident during a given period of time.
IMAGE
Our main observation is the position in the upper-left quadrant of the item ‘uniqueness’,
which means that, as with retail banking services, consumers do not see much
differentiation between insurance companies.
The variable ‘environment friendly’ can also be found in the same quadrant.
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130 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
Finally, ‘customer service mentality’ and ‘state of the art’ (i.e. the fact that the suppliers
are technologically advanced companies and have the ability to innovate) also seem to be
issues. This observation may mean that, from the consumers’ point of view, insurance
services do not take sufficient advantage of the new information technology in order to
provide an easier service to the client.
On the other hand, all the other image-related elements (popularity, familiarity, ease and
reputation) are in the upper-right quadrant. These are the areas where no action is needed
but where the current situation needs to be maintained.
QUALITY
Consumers give elements related to quality relatively high scores. The lower average
score
(compared to the average score for ‘information’) might be related to the fact that
consumers often do not fully understand what they perceive as complex insurance
products.
In addition, consumers tend to think there is no insurance office/agency near to their
home. Contrary to the situation for retail banking, insurance companies do not seem to
enjoy a high level of visibility.
However, these two areas, which are a source of discontent for consumers, are not
opportunities for priority actions but only actions that could be taken in the long run.
CONCLUSIONS
Given that pricing issues are important to consumers, the main opportunities for
improvement lie in this area. They are linked to price level, commercial offers and to the
fact that insurance companies share their profits with customers. Nevertheless,
improvements in the information provided on products and services could help
consumers
have a better understanding of prices/tariffs and could thereby improve consumers’
overall satisfaction with insurance services.
In terms of image, the main priorities are to work on the uniqueness of insurance
companies, respect for the environment and customer service mentality (through better
use of ICT.
Finally, insurance services could take advantage of the quality and accuracy of payment
processes, transparency, good relationships between staff and clients, popularity,
familiarity, reputation and flexibility of suppliers by communicating these elements to the
public and consequently contributing, in the long run, to maintaining consumers’
satisfaction in these areas.
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C. DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF THE SURVEY
RESULTS BY COUNTRY
In this chapter, we use graphs to show the percentage of consumers who are satisfied or
dissatisfied with the eleven SGIs (services of general interest) by country and for the
EU25
as a whole. The measurement of satisfaction is based on the percentage of respondents
who, on a scale from 1 to 10, rated their satisfaction in the range between 8 and 10. The
measurement of dissatisfaction is based on the percentage of respondents who rated their
satisfaction equal to or less than 4.
When comparing the proportion of satisfied/dissatisfied consumers to the EU average, 2
situations can be observed on the graphs:
- either the proportion is greater than the EU average. In this case, we will say that
consumers are more satisfied/dissatisfied than the EU average.
- or the proportion is smaller than the EU average. In this case, we will say that
consumers are less satisfied/dissatisfied than the EU average
However, in some cases, the differences observed on the graphs are not statistically
significant. In other words, the proportions of satisfied/dissatisfied consumers of a given
country can be considered equal to the EU average.
Statistical significance depends on a variety of factors such as sample size and observed
percentages.
The explanatory text below the graph will only highlight significant differences
compared
to the EU average. This is the reason why the reader may perceive some discrepancies
between what is shown on the graph and the text. For example: in the Czech Republic,
5.8% of consumers are dissatisfied with mobile phone whereas the EU average is 4.1%.
In
this case, we cannot conclude that consumers in the Czech Republic are more dissatisfied
with mobile phone than the EU average as the difference between these two proportions
is
not statistically significant. For the other services, the differences between the
proportions of satisfied consumers and the EU average are statistically significant. In
addition, these are greater than the EU average. Therefore, we will say that consumers in
this country tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU average with all the services except
mobile phone.
_______________________________________________________________________
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132 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
1. EU25
44.5 9.4
45.6 10.3
52 8.4
52.9 6.9
57.6 5.3
57.9 4.4
60.2 5.4
63.1 4.6
64.4 3
65.9 4.1
66.1 3.5
Urban transport
Extra-urban transport
Fixed phone
Postal services
Electricity
Gas
Water
Retail banking
Insurance
Mobile phone
Air transport
Satisfied
Dissatisfied
EU25
As can be seen in the graph above, urban and extra-urban transport are the services with
which EU25 consumers are, in general, the least satisfied.
_______________________________________________________________________
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 133
2. Austria
45.6 10.3
49 12.7
52.9 6.9
57.9 7.6
44.5 9.4
61 7.2
52 8.4
70.1 2.6
57.9 4.4
75.9 2.7
64.4 3
76.1 1.8
65.9 4.1
76.4 2.4
63.1 4.6
77.3 3.1
57.6 5.3
79.5 2
66.1 3.5
82.2 1.1
60.2 5.4
86.8 1.5
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Water
Water
Satisfied Dissatisfied
AUSTRIA
Austrians tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all 11 services evaluated.
They tend also to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with all these services.
_______________________________________________________________________
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134 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
3. Belgium
52.9 6.9
43.8 6.4
45.6 10.3
52.2 4.6
44.5 9.4
57.1 3.9
66.1 3.5
59.7 2.4
52 8.4
62 3.2
60.2 5.4
64.3 0.4
57.9 4.4
65.2 2.6
57.6 5.3
65.2 2.1
64.4 3
74.3 1.4
65.9 4.1
74.4 1.3
63.1 4.6
75.9 0.9
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
Satisfied Dissatisfied
BELGIUM
Belgian consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with retail banking,
mobile phone, insurance, electricity, gas, water, fixed phone and urban and extra-urban
transport and less satisfied with air transport and postal services. They tend to be less
dissatisfied than the EU average with all the 11 services.
_______________________________________________________________________
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 135
4. Cyprus
44.5 9.4
23 53.8
52 8.4
68.5 6.5
57.6 5.3
70.1 6.4
52.9 6.9
77 5.8
64.4 3
79.1 4.4
60.2 5.4
83 2.3
66.1 3.5
83 3.5
65.9 4.1
83.9 0.7
63.1 4.6
86.2 2.9
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
Satisfied Dissatisfied
CYPRUS
Consumers in Cyprus tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all the services,
except urban transport (23% of satisfied against 44.5% at the EU level). They tend to be
more dissatisfied than the EU average with urban transport (53.8% of dissatisfied against
9.4% at the EU level).
_______________________________________________________________________
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136 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
5. Czech Republic
52 8.4
40.7 23.3
44.5 9.4
42.7 18.8
45.6 10.3
43.7 17
52.9 6.9
51.8 10.7
57.6 5.3
58.3 9.2
60.2 5.4
59.2 9
57.9 4.4
64.5 10.1
64.4 3
65.1 9.1
63.1 4.6
67.4 7.3
65.9 4.1
73.8 5.8
66.1 3.5
75.7 6.9
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
Satisfied Dissatisfied
CZECH REPUBLIC
Consumers in Czech Republic tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with air
transport, mobile phone, retail banking and gas distribution and less satisfied with fixed
phone. They tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU average with all the services
except
mobile phone.
_______________________________________________________________________
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 137
6. Denmark
45.6 10.3
37.5 17.1
44.5 9.4
42.1 16.7
52.9 6.9
52.8 11.6
52 8.4
61.3 7.7
66.1 3.5
65 5.1
65.9 4.1
71.4 6
63.1 4.6
71.7 4.7
64.4 3
73.6 3.2
57.9 4.4
77.9 2.6
57.6 5.3
78.9 2.2
60.2 5.4
84.8 1
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Water
Water
Satisfied Dissatisfied
DENMARK
Danes tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with the three utilities (water,
electricity and gas), insurance, retail banking, mobile phone and fixed phone and less
satisfied with extra-urban services. They tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU average
with postal services, urban and extra-urban transport.
_______________________________________________________________________
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138 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
7. Estonia
44.5 9.4
49.7 10.9
60.2 5.4
51.5 12.3
45.6 10.3
58 6.3
66.1 3.5
64.1 3.9
57.9 4.4
68.1 2.1
64.4 3
70.7 3.3
52 8.4
71 3.6
52.9 6.9
71.5 2.8
57.6 5.3
71.8 4.4
65.9 4.1
78.3 1.7
63.1 4.6
84.2 1.2
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
Satisfied Dissatisfied
ESTONIA
Consumers in Estonia tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with retail banking,
mobile phone, electricity, postal services, fixed phone, insurance, gas distribution, urban
and extra-urban transport and less satisfied with water distribution. They tend to be more
dissatisfied than the EU average with water distribution and less dissatisfied with
extraurban transport.
_______________________________________________________________________
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 139
8. Germany
45.6 10.3
42.4 16.2
44.5 9.4
52.3 7.8
52.9 6.9
58.5 5
57.9 4.4
69.7 3.6
44.9 10.3
71.4 5.9
57.6 5.3
72.7 2.4
63.1 4.6
78.6 2.6
64.4 3
81.4 1.9
66.1 3.5
83.2 1.7
65.9 4.1
83.5 2.9
60.2 5.4
83.9 2.2
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Water
Water
Satisfied Dissatisfied
GERMANY
German consumers are most satisfied than the EU average with all the services except
extra-urban transport. They tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU average with
extraurban transport and less dissatisfied with fixed phone.
_______________________________________________________________________
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140 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
9. Greece
52 8.4
45.1 9.4
57.6 5.3
48.1 9.5
44.5 9.4
53.6 8
60.2 5.4
59 9.8
45.6 10.3
63.4 4.4
63.1 4.6
65.3 2.2
64.4 3
68.4 1.5
52.9 6.9
69.7 4
65.9 4.1
70.9 2.7
66.1 3.5
76.2 3.8
57.9 4.4
87.4 1.5
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Gas
Gas
Satisfied Dissatisfied
GREECE
In Greece, consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with gas distribution,
air transport, mobile phone, postal services, insurance and extra-urban transport and less
satisfied with electricity and fixed phone. They tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU
average with water and electricity distribution and less dissatisfied with postal services
and extra-urban transport.
_______________________________________________________________________
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 141
10. Finland
52 8.4
60.9 5.1
57.6 5.3
63.2 6.1
44.5 9.4
63.9 5
52.9 6.9
66.4 5.3
45.6 10.3
67.4 3.3
65.9 4.1
72.7 3.4
64.4 3
75.2 2.1
57.9 4.4
76.6 1.4
66.1 3.5
77.5 3.2
60.2 5.4
79.6 2.9
63.1 4.6
87.4 0.8
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
Satisfied Dissatisfied
FINLAND
Finns tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all SGIs. In addition, they tend
to
be less dissatisfied than the EU average with urban and extra-urban transport and fixed
phone.
_______________________________________________________________________
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142 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
11. France
52.9 6.9
46.1 7.3
44.5 9.4
49.2 7.2
52 8.4
49.3 7.6
60.2 5.4
52 4.4
45.6 10.3
52.6 7.2
65.9 4.1
55.3 6.4
63.1 4.6
55.5 7.5
66.1 3.5
56.1 5.7
57.9 4.4
58.2 4.5
57.6 5.3
60.4 3.1
64.4 3
65.3 2.3
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
Satisfied Dissatisfied
FRANCE
French consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with extra-urban
transport and less satisfied with air transport, retail banking, mobile phone, water
distribution and postal services. They tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average
with
extra-urban transport.
_______________________________________________________________________
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 143
12. Hungary
44.5 9.4
37.7 22.2
45.6 10.3
50 17.6
57.9 4.4
64.9 9.2
52 8.4
65.2 10.4
60.2 5.4
70.6 7.4
52.9 6.9
70.7 7.6
64.4 3
71.3 7
57.6 5.3
72.6 8.6
63.1 4.6
74.4 5.8
66.1 3.5
82.5 2.5
65.9 4.1
82.9 2.1
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
Satisfied Dissatisfied
HUNGARY
Hungarians tend to be more satisfied than the EU25 average with almost all SGIs except
with urban transport (37.7% against a EU25 average of 44.5%). However, they tend to be
more dissatisfied than the EU average with electricity, insurance, gas, urban and
extraurban transport.
_______________________________________________________________________
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144 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
13. Ireland
44.5 9.4
65.6 5
66.1 3.5
67 3.6
63.1 4.6
67.8 4
60.2 5.4
71.5 8
45.6 10.3
72.4 3.3
65.9 4.1
73 2.6
57.6 5.3
73.2 3.5
52 8.4
78.3 1.7
64.4 3
81.3 0.9
52.9 6.9
81.7 2
57.9 4.4
81.8 1.9
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Gas
Gas
Satisfied Dissatisfied
IRELAND
In Ireland, people are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed,
except with air transport (where the proportion of satisfied is equal to the EU average).
They tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with postal services, fixed phone,
urban and extra-urban transport.
_______________________________________________________________________
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 145
14. Italy
45.6 10.3
24.2 18
52 8.4
27.4 14.8
52.9 6.9
28.7 10.2
44.5 9.4
33.7 13.7
57.6 5.3
34.8 8.3
57.9 4.4
36.4 4.1
63.1 4.6
36.7 7.4
60.2 5.4
40.4 8.6
64.4 3
42.3 4.8
65.9 4.1
49.7 2.6
66.1 3.5
51.1 3.4
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
Satisfied Dissatisfied
ITALY
Italians tend to be less satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs. They tend to be
more dissatisfied than the EU average with urban and extra-urban transport, postal
services and fixed phone.
_______________________________________________________________________
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146 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
15. Latvia
60.2 5.4
50.5 11.7
44.5 9.4
62 4.2
52 8.4
65.1 4.3
45.6 10.3
66.2 3.5
57.9 4.4
67.5 4.8
52.9 6.9
67.8 4.1
66.1 3.5
68 3.6
64.4 3
70.6 2.8
57.6 5.3
73.1 3.2
65.9 4.1
79.9 2.5
63.1 4.6
80.6 0.7
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
Satisfied Dissatisfied
LATVIA
Latvians tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs, except with
water distribution (50.5% are satisfied against 60.2% at the EU level). They tend to be
more
dissatisfied than the EU average with water distribution and less dissatisfied with urban
and extra-urban transport and fixed phone.
_______________________________________________________________________
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 147
16. Lithuania
44.5 9.4
57.4 6.8
60.2 5.4
59.6 8.5
45.6 10.3
66.5 5.2
52 8.4
72.4 4.7
64.4 3
75.7 1.7
66.1 3.5
78.6 0.7
65.9 4.1
79.1 3.6
52.9 6.9
80.2 1.2
63.1 4.6
80.3 1.9
57.6 5.3
81.6 1.6
57.9 4.4
84.5 0.7
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Gas
Gas
Satisfied Dissatisfied
LITHUANIA
Lithuanians are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed, except
with
water distribution (where the proportion of satisfied is equal to the EU average). They
tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with gas and electricity distribution, retail
banking, postal services, air transport, insurance, fixed phone and extra-urban transport
but are more dissatisfied with water distribution.
_______________________________________________________________________
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148 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
17. Luxembourg
45.6 10.3
54.2 6.8
44.5 9.4
57.5 9.4
66.1 3.5
66.5 2.6
52.9 6.9
67.5 2.6
52 8.4
68.7 3.6
65.9 4.1
69.2 3.4
57.9 4.4
69.3 1.7
57.6 5.3
71.5 2.1
60.2 5.4
73.5 3.2
64.4 3
74.7 3.8
63.1 4.6
75.2 2.3
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
Satisfied Dissatisfied
LUXEMBOURG
Consumers in Luxembourg are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs
surveyed, except with mobile phone and air transport (where the proportions of satisfied
are in line with the EU average). They tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average
with
water, electricity and gas distribution, fixed phone, postal services and extra-urban
transport.
_______________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________
FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 149
18. Malta
44.5 9.4
29.4 15.9
57.6 5.3
47 17.4
60.2 5.4
53.1 14.3
52.9 6.9
61.7 8.2
66.1 3.5
63.6 2.9
64.4 3
67.2 5.6
52 8.4
73 2.6
63.1 4.6
77.2 2.9
65.9 4.1
79.6 2.3
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
Satisfied Dissatisfied
MALTA
Maltese consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with mobile phone,
retail banking, fixed phone, insurance and postal services and tend to be less satisfied
with
water and electricity distribution and urban transport. They tend to be less dissatisfied
than the EU average with fixed phone and more dissatisfied with insurance, water and
electricity distribution and urban transport.
_______________________________________________________________________
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150 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
19. Netherlands
45.6 10.3
24 6
44.5 9.4
25 3.7
52 8.4
39.7 3.3
57.6 5.3
41.1 6.4
64.4 3
46.6 1.4
52.9 6.9
47.5 2.5
57.9 4.4
47.6 3.7
63.1 4.6
50.5 2.1
65.9 4.1
51 2.5
66.1 3.5
52.9 1.2
60.2 5.4
53.4 1
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Water
Water
Satisfied Dissatisfied
NETHERLANDS
Just as with Italy, Dutch consumers tend to be less satisfied than the EU average with all
the SGIs. However, they also tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with water
distribution, air transport, postal services, insurance, fixed phone, urban and extra-urban
transport.
_______________________________________________________________________
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FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO | 151
20. Poland
44.5 9.4
39.2 10.8
52 8.4
45.2 13.3
45.6 10.3
46.2 7.4
64.4 3
55.7 3.5
60.2 5.4
56.8 7.6
57.9 4.4
58.9 4.8
57.6 5.3
59.9 6.4
52.9 6.9
61.3 7.8
63.1 4.6
62 4.2
65.9 4.1
67.2 4.1
66.1 3.5
67.7 1.3
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
Satisfied Dissatisfied
POLAND
In Poland, consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with postal services
and insurance and tend to be less satisfied with fixed phone and urban transport. They
tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with air transport and tend to be more
dissatisfied with fixed phone.
_______________________________________________________________________
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152 | FINAL REPORT – CONSUMER SATISFACTION – DG SANCO
21. Portugal
52 8.4
29.7 20.1
57.6 5.3
36.4 12.8
44.5 9.4
40.4 5.1
57.9 4.4
49.5 4.1
64.4 3
50.3 4.2
60.2 5.4
52.2 8.6
45.6 10.3
55.5 4.5
66.1 3.5
64.1 0.9
63.1 4.6
64.7 2.5
52.9 6.9
64.9 3.9
65.9 4.1
68.8 2.6
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
Satisfied Dissatisfied
PORTUGAL
In Portugal, consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with postal services
and extra-urban transport and tend to be less satisfied with water, gas and electricity
distribution, insurance and fixed phone. They tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU
average with postal services, retail banking, air transport and urban/extra-urban transport
and they tend to be more dissatisfied with water and electricity distribution and fixed
phone.
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22. Slovakia
44.5 9.4
21.9 31.5
45.6 10.3
28.6 23.4
57.9 4.4
43.3 15
57.6 5.3
52.8 8.5
60.2 5.4
52.8 8.9
52 8.4
53.1 9.1
64.4 3
58.1 9
52.9 6.9
59.4 5.9
66.1 3.5
62 8.2
63.1 4.6
64.7 5.1
65.9 4.1
73 4.1
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
Satisfied Dissatisfied
SLOVAKIA
Slovaks tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with mobile phone and postal
services and tend to be less satisfied with insurance, water, electricity and gas
distribution, urban and extra-urban transport. In addition, they tend to be more
dissatisfied than the EU average with air transport, insurance, water, electricity and gas
distribution and urban and extra-urban transport.
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23. Slovenia
44.5 9.4
46.4 12.4
45.6 10.3
51.5 8.3
52 8.4
68.5 6.2
60.2 5.4
72 4.8
57.6 5.3
73.5 2.5
66.1 3.5
73.8 4.5
64.4 3
73.9 2.5
52.9 6.9
74.2 3.6
63.1 4.6
75.2 3.6
65.9 4.1
76.8 2.8
57.9 4.4
77.2 1.2
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Gas
Gas
Satisfied Dissatisfied
SLOVENIA
Consumers are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed, except
with
urban transport (where the proportion of satisfied is in line with the EU average). In
addition, they tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with electricity and gas
distribution and postal services.
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24. Spain
44.5 9.4
35.4 10.7
52 8.4
36 7.5
65.9 4.1
41.7 8.7
57.6 5.3
42.7 4
45.6 10.3
43.6 5.1
66.1 3.5
45 6.1
60.2 5.4
46.9 6.1
57.9 4.4
47.7 3.8
52.9 6.9
47.7 3.8
63.1 4.6
50.9 5.1
64.4 3
54.7 3
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
Satisfied Dissatisfied
SPAIN
Spaniards tend to be less satisfied than the EU average with insurance, retail banking,
postal, gas, water and electricity distribution, air transport, mobile phone, fixed phone
and urban transport. In addition, they tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with
postal services and extra-urban transport but tend to be more dissatisfied with air
transport and mobile phone.
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25. Sweden
44.5 9.4
39.5 17.3
52.9 6.9
44.8 21.7
57.6 5.3
53.2 11.5
45.6 10.3
54.1 7.9
66.1 3.5
62.4 4.5
52 8.4
63.4 6.5
64.4 3
67.1 2.5
65.9 4.1
71.7 4.8
57.9 4.4
74.1 1.9
63.1 4.6
80.3 2
60.2 5.4
80.7 1.6
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Water
Water
Satisfied Dissatisfied
SWEDEN
Consumers are more satisfied than the EU average with water distribution, retail banking,
gas, mobile phone, fixed phone and extra-urban transport and tend to be less satisfied
with air transport and postal services. They also tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU
average with water and gas distribution and retail banking but tend to be more dissatisfied
electricity, postal services and urban transport.
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26. United Kingdom
44.5 9.4
43.3 6.7
45.6 10.3
55.4 6.3
52.9 6.9
55.8 9.2
57.6 5.3
58.2 6.6
57.9 4.4
58.3 4.9
60.2 5.4
59.7 5.5
52 8.4
59.8 4.7
63.1 4.6
67.2 4.1
65.9 4.1
67.5 3.4
66.1 3.5
67.6 4.4
64.4 3
67.6 2.5
EU25 Urban transport
Urban transport
EU25 Extra-urban transport
Extra-urban transport
EU25 Postal services
Postal services
EU25 Electricity
Electricity
EU25 Gas
Gas
EU25 Water
Water
EU25 Fixed phone
Fixed phone
EU25 Retail banking
Retail banking
EU25 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
EU25 Air transport
Air transport
EU25 Insurance
Insurance
Satisfied Dissatisfied
UNITED KINGDOM
Consumers in the UK tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with fixed phone,
retail banking and extra-urban transport services. In addition, they tend to be less
dissatisfied than the EU average with fixed phone and extra-urban transport.
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D. OVERALL FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Consumers’ overall satisfaction
1.1. AVERAGE SCORE
Overall, European consumers appear to be fairly satisfied with their services of general
interest. The average satisfaction scores for the EU25 for each of the sectors surveyed are
listed in the following table (on a scale from 1 to 10).
Average score
Air Transport 7.96
Mobile Telephony 7.91
Insurance services 7.92
Retail Banking 7.82
Water Distribution 7.73
Gas supply 7.64
Electricity supply 7.61
Postal Services 7.42
Fixed Telephony 7.30
Extra Urban Transport 7.05
Urban Transport 7.04
The average satisfaction score ranges from 7.04 for Urban Transport to 7.96 for Air
transport. Given the general observation that a score of 8 (on a scale from 1 to 10) is an
indication of a high level of satisfaction, it is reasonable to say that:
- EU consumers are particularly satisfied with air transport, mobile phone, insurance
and retail banking services;
- EU consumers are less satisfied (or are more ‘neutral’ in their opinion) with utility
services (gas, electricity, water);
- EU consumers are more concerned about sectors such as postal services and fixed
telephony.
- EU consumers are least satisfied with their extra-urban and urban transport
services.
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1.2. PERCENTAGES OF SATISFIED AND DISSATISFIED CONSUMERS
Another way of looking at overall satisfaction is to calculate the percentages of ‘satisfied
consumers’ and ‘dissatisfied consumers’. ‘Satisfied consumers’ are defined as people
who
give a service a rating of 8, 9 or 10 while ‘dissatisfied consumers’ are defined as
people
who give a service a score of 4 or less.
The percentages of satisfied consumers are shown in the following graph:
66.1 65.9
64.4
63.1
60.2
57.9 57.6
52.9 52
45.6
44.5
Air transport Mobile
phone
Insurances Banking
retail
Water Gas Electricity Postal
services
Fixed phone Extra-urban
transport
Urban
transport
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your supplier?
% satisfied customers - EU25
This way of presenting the information is somewhat more precise than when average
values are used but the order of the sectors remains the same. For all sectors, except
urban transport and extra-urban Transport, it can be seen that at least one EU citizen in
two claims to be a satisfied consumer. For air transport, mobile phone, insurance and
retail banking services, this figure rises to 2 out of 3.
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A third way of looking at overall satisfaction is to show the percentage of dissatisfied
consumers:
10.3
9.4
8.4
6.9
5.4
5.3
4.6
4.4
4.1
3.5
3
Extra-urban
transport
Urban
transport
Fixed phone Postal
services
Water Electricity Banking
retail
Gas Mobile
phone
Air transport Insurances
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied with your supplier?
% dissatisfied customers - EU25
In 5 out of the 11 sectors surveyed, fewer than 5% of EU consumers state that they are
dissatisfied. Not surprisingly, these are the same 5 sectors in which average satisfaction is
highest.
In 4 sectors, the percentage of dissatisfied consumers in the EU25 ranges from 7% to
10%.
For extra-urban transport, 1 EU consumer in 10 claims to be dissatisfied.
Care should be taken in seeking to find the reasons for these differences across sectors,
but the following assumptions can be put forward and are worth further investigation:
- there seems to be a relationship between the extent to which a sector has been
liberalised (or at least there is a market situation where consumers have the choice
between several suppliers) and the satisfaction of consumers. Further work to
correlate the degree of liberalisation with satisfaction is needed, however;
- EU consumers’ ‘neutral positive’ attitude towards utility services (electricity,
water, gas) could be explained by the long-standing quality and reliability of these
services, which consumers take for granted;
- EU consumers’ ‘negative’ attitude towards postal services, urban and extra-urban
transport could be explained by their reputation for providing services that are not
consumer-friendly.
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2. Criteria that contribute to consumers’
overall satisfaction
2.1. CONSUMERS’ SATISFACTION WITH QUALITY, PRICING AND
IMAGE
In addition to consumers’ overall satisfaction, the survey was intended to measure
consumers’ satisfaction with different criteria related to the SGI surveyed.
Some of them have been summarised in the following three categories: quality, pricing
and
image. The table below sets out the average satisfaction score give by consumers for each
of these aspects:
Service Quality Pricing Image Overall
Satisfaction
Mobile Telephony 8.1 7.5 8.0 7.91
Retail Banking 8.0 7.3 7.8 7.82
Air Transport 8.0 7.6 7.9 7.96
Insurance 8.0 7.4 7.8 7.92
Gas Supply 7.8 6.4 7.3 7.64
Postal Services 7.3 6.8 7.2 7.42
Water Distribution 7.6 6.8 7.4 7.73
Fixed Telephony 7.5 6.7 7.2 7.30
Electricity Supply 7.7 6.6 7.4 7.61
Extra Urban Transport 7.0 6.5 6.8 7.05
Urban Transport 7.0 6.6 6.9 7.04
The table shows that consumers tend to be more satisfied with quality than pricing in
most
of the SGI surveyed. The consumers’ average satisfaction score with image-type
elements
often falls between that for pricing and quality.
2.2. THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY, PRICING AND
IMAGE IN CONSUMERS’ OVERALL SATISFACTION WITH SGIS
As noted at the beginning of this report, it is important to determine the criteria or
elements that influence and explain consumers’ overall satisfaction before taking any
action to improve consumers’ overall satisfaction. These criteria are quality, pricing and
image. This contribution to consumers’ overall satisfaction is calculated through a
regression analysis that determines the relative weighting of quality, pricing and image in
overall satisfaction.
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The weighting of each of these criteria (regression coefficient
4
) calculated for all the SGIs
surveyed is shown in the following table:
Services Quality Pricing Image
Insurance Services 0.24 0.52 0.32
Electricity Supply 0.30 0.49 0.32
Retail Banking 0.22 0.47 0.38
Fixed Telephony 0.24 0.46 0.43
Mobile Telephony 0.28 0.44 0.34
Water Distribution 0.34 0.43 0.37
Postal Services 0.33 0.39 0.48
Urban Transport 0.35 0.39 0.52
Extra Urban Transport 0.33 0.38 0.53
Air Transport 0.37 0.36 0.35
Gas Supply 0.49 0.20 0.28
‘Pricing’ is the main criterion influencing consumers’ overall satisfaction in 6 out of 11
services: insurance, electricity supply, retail banking, fixed telephone (where image is
also
very important), mobile telephone and water distribution. In other words, in these sectors,
people have high expectations regarding pricing issues. This result implies that, more
than
in other sectors, changes in prices or price-related items will influence consumer
satisfaction. The impact of changes in other areas will be less significant.
In 3 sectors, ‘image’ is the criterion that has the greatest impact on consumers’ overall
satisfaction: postal services, urban transport and extra-urban transport – three sectors
where average satisfaction is relatively low. On the other hand, consumers’ expectations
regarding image are higher than the other criteria as far as fixed telephone services are
concerned. Therefore enjoying a good reputation – or, alternatively, suffering from a bad
image – is closely related to consumers’ overall satisfaction.
In two SGIs, the survey shows interesting results:
• air transport: the three criteria (quality, pricing and image) are almost as important
as each other for consumers (0.37 for quality, 0.36 for pricing and 0.35 for image) -
the impact of these criteria balance each other out; i.e. lower quality (= lower
scores on quality) can be compensated by lower prices (= higher scores on pricing);
• gas supply is the only sector where ‘quality’ appears to be the main driver of
satisfaction. This is probably due to reliability and safety concerns with regard to
this service.

4
These weightings can have a value ranging from 0 to 1, with 0 meaning that the criteria
has no influence on overall
satisfaction and 1 meaning that it has a major influence on overall satisfaction.
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3. Differences between EU Member States
3.1. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EU15 AND NMS10 COUNTRIES
The following table displays, for each service, the percentage of satisfied and dissatisfied
consumers in both EU15 and NMS10 countries.
Service % Satisfied % Dissatisfied
EU15 65.5 3.6
Air transport
NMS-10 72.6 3.1
EU15 64.4 4.2
Mobile Phone
NMS-10 72.8 3.9
EU15 64.6 2.6
Insurance
NMS-10 62.9 5.3
EU15 62.1 4.5
Retail banking
NMS-10 67.9 4.7
EU15 60.5 4.8
Water
NMS-10 59.1 7.9
EU15 57.2 4.0
Gas
NMS-10 60.9 6.6
EU15 56.5 4.9
Electricity
NMS-10 62.3 6.7
EU15 50.5 6.8
Postal services
NMS-10 62.7 7.5
EU15 52.1 7.6
Fixed phone
NMS-10 51.4 12.6
EU15 45.3 9.9
Extra-urban transport
NMS-10 47.1 12.0
EU15 45.2 8.4
Urban transport
NMS-10 40.3 14.7
When it comes to (overall) differences in consumer satisfaction between EU15 and
NMS10
countries, a distinction can be made between three groups of services:
o for air transport and mobile phone services, consumers in the new member states
are more satisfied and less dissatisfied than those in the EU15;
o for insurance services, water distribution, fixed telephone and urban transport, the
NMS10 consumers are less satisfied and more dissatisfied than the EU15 citizens;
o for retail banking, gas supply, electricity supply and extra-urban transport, the
percentages of both satisfied and dissatisfied consumers in the NMS10 countries
overall are higher than in the EU15 countries.
For the third group of services the following possible explanations may be considered:
(1)
there are considerable disparities in the delivery of services within these countries (which
would also explain the greater differences in consumer satisfaction levels) and/or (2)
consumers in these countries tend to have a less neutral attitude than those in the EU15.
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3.2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL MEMBER STATES
A majority of EU25 consumers (more than 50%) are satisfied with 9 out of the 11 SGIs
assessed, especially air transport, mobile phone, insurance, retail banking and water
distribution services. Consumers are least satisfied with extra-urban (45.6%) and urban
transport (44.5%) services.
Results diverging from the EU average are found below:
Austria
Austrians tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all 11 services evaluated.
They tend also to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with all these services.
Belgium
Consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with retail banking, mobile
phone, insurance, electricity, gas, water, fixed phone and urban and extra-urban transport
and less satisfied with air transport and postal services. They tend to be less dissatisfied
than the EU average with all the 11 services.
Cyprus
Consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all the services, except
urban transport (23% of satisfied against 44.5% at the EU level). They tend to be more
dissatisfied than the EU average with urban transport (53.8% of dissatisfied against 9.4%
at
the EU level).
Czech Republic
Consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with air transport, mobile
phone,
retail banking and gas distribution and less satisfied with fixed phone. They tend to be
more dissatisfied than the EU average with all the services except mobile phone.
Denmark
Danes tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with the three utilities (water,
electricity and gas), insurance, retail banking, mobile phone and fixed phone and less
satisfied with extra-urban services. They tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU average
with postal services, urban and extra-urban transport.
Estonia
Consumers in Estonia tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with retail banking,
mobile phone, electricity, postal services, fixed phone, insurance, gas distribution, urban
and extra-urban transport and less satisfied with water distribution. They tend to be more
dissatisfied than the EU average with water distribution and less dissatisfied with
extraurban transport.
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Germany
German consumers are most satisfied than the EU average with all the services except
extra-urban transport. They tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU average extra-urban
transport and less dissatisfied with fixed phone.
Greece
In Greece, consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with gas distribution,
air transport, mobile phone, postal services, insurance and extra-urban transport and less
satisfied with electricity and fixed phone. They tend to be more dissatisfied than the EU
average with water and electricity distribution and less dissatisfied with postal services
and extra-urban transport.
Finland
Finns tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all SGIs. In addition, they tend
to
be less dissatisfied than the EU average with urban and extra-urban transport and fixed
phone.
France
French consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with extra-urban
transport and less satisfied air transport, retail banking, mobile phone, water distribution
and postal services. They tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with extra-
urban
transport.
Hungary
Hungarians tend to be more satisfied than the EU25 average with almost all SGIs except
with urban transport (37.7% against a EU25 average of 44.5%). However, they tend to be
more dissatisfied than the EU average with electricity, insurance, gas, urban and
extraurban transport.
Ireland
Consumers are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed, except
with
Air transport (where the proportion of satisfied is equal to the EU average). They tend to
be less dissatisfied than the EU average with postal services, fixed phone, urban and
extraurban transport.
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Italy
Italians tend to be less satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs. They tend to be
more dissatisfied than the EU average with urban and extra-urban transport, postal
services and fixed phone.
Latvia
Latvians tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs, except with
water distribution (50.5% are satisfied against 60.2% at the EU level). They tend to be
more
dissatisfied than the EU average with water distribution and less dissatisfied with urban
and extra-urban transport and fixed phone.
Lithuania
Lithuanians are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed, except
with
water distribution (where the proportion of satisfied is equal to the EU average). They
tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with gas and electricity distribution, retail
banking, postal services, air transport, insurance, fixed phone and extra-urban transport
but are more dissatisfied with water distribution.
Luxembourg
Consumers are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed, except
with
mobile phone and air transport (where the proportions of satisfied are in line with the EU
average). They tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with water, electricity and
gas distribution, fixed phone, postal services and extra-urban transport.
Malta
Consumers in Malta tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with mobile phone,
retail banking, fixed phone, insurance and postal services and tend to be less satisfied
with
water and electricity distribution and urban transport. They tend to be less dissatisfied
than the EU average with fixed phone and more dissatisfied with insurance, water and
electricity distribution and urban transport.
Netherlands
Just as with Italy, Dutch consumers tend to be less satisfied than the EU average with all
the SGIs. However, they also tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with water
distribution, air transport, postal services, insurance, fixed phone, urban and extra-urban
transport.
Poland
In Poland, consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with postal services
and insurance and tend to be less satisfied with fixed phone and urban transport. They
tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with air transport and tend to be more
dissatisfied with fixed phone.
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Portugal
Portuguese consumers tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with postal services
and extra-urban transport and tend to be less satisfied with water, gas and electricity
distribution, insurance and fixed phone. They tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU
average with postal services, retail banking, air transport and urban/extra-urban transport
and they tend to be more dissatisfied with water and electricity distribution and fixed
phone.
Slovakia
Slovaks tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with mobile phone and postal
services and tend to be less satisfied with insurance, water, electricity and gas
distribution, urban and extra-urban transport. In addition, they tend to be more
dissatisfied than the EU average with air transport, insurance, water, electricity and gas
distribution and urban and extra-urban transport.
Slovenia
Consumers are more satisfied than the EU average with all the SGIs surveyed, except
with
urban transport (where the proportion of satisfied is in line with the EU average). In
addition, they tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with electricity and gas
distribution and postal services.
Spain
Spaniards tend to be less satisfied than the EU average with insurance, retail banking,
postal, gas, water and electricity distribution, air transport, mobile phone, fixed phone
and urban transport. In addition, they tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU average with
postal services and extra-urban transport but tend to be more dissatisfied with air
transport and mobile phone.
Sweden
Consumers are more satisfied than the EU average with water distribution, retail banking,
gas, mobile phone, fixed phone and extra-urban transport and tend to be less satisfied
with air transport and postal services. They also tend to be less dissatisfied than the EU
average with water and gas distribution and retail banking but tend to be more dissatisfied
electricity, postal services and urban transport.
United Kingdom
Consumers in the UK tend to be more satisfied than the EU average with fixed phone,
retail banking and extra-urban transport services. In addition, they tend to be less
dissatisfied than the EU average with fixed phone and extra-urban transport.
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4. Other key findings
4.1. THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF CONSUMERS
In the survey, a number of socio-economic characteristics of respondents were identified.
These reveal some interesting findings:
1. The lowest percentages of satisfied consumers are to be found in the 18-34 age
group. They are the most critical consumers. The older people become, the more
easily they are satisfied.
2. In terms of education levels, those who have completed secondary school are the
most satisfied consumers. Those who left before completing secondary school and
those who are still studying are often less satisfied.
3. Amongst professional groups, it is not surprising to find that retired people
represent the highest number of satisfied consumers (since these are also the older
people). Blue collar workers are often also relatively more satisfied with services of
general interest than most other professional groups. Students and self-employed
people have the lowest percentages of satisfied consumers. The other professional
groups – managers, white collar workers, unemployed people and people working in
the home - tend to be close to the average.
4. In all services except one (retail banking) there are almost exactly the same
percentages of women and men who are satisfied consumers. Women seem to be
more satisfied than men with retail banking.
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4.2. MARKET ISSUES
In the survey, respondents were asked a number of Yes/No questions in relation to the
service provider they used and the market context. The main outcomes are summarised in
the following table
5
:
Service
This year I
will still use
this supplier
It is easy to
change
supplier
Buying in
another country
is possible and
interesting
I prefer to deal
with a national
supplier
Electricity Supply 85 % 54 % 23 % 81 %
Gas Supply 87 % 42 % 21 % 78 %
Water distribution 91 % 8 % 14 % 84 %
Fixed Telephony 77 % 67 % 28 % 80 %
Mobile Telephony 84 % 78 % 41 % 79 %
Urban Transport 89 % 32 % 15 % 77 %
Extra-Urban Transport 88 % 48 % 30 % 75 %
Air Transport 76 % 87 % 81 % 61 %
Postal Services 94 % 51 % 29 % 83 %
Retail Banking 90 % 80 % 48 % 83 %
Insurance 87% 77 % 37 % 83 %
Please note that the 2
nd
,3
rd
and 4
th
questions were only asked in countries where
consumers had the choice between several suppliers.
The main patterns that emerge from this table are:
- a very large number of consumers (more than 5 out 6 in all but two sectors) think
that they will stay with their current provider for the next 12 months. This reflects
a high level of ‘commitment’, either because of the existing monopolistic situation,
because consumers think that the barriers to changing suppliers are too high (see
next point) or because consumers are satisfied with their current provider. Even for
air transport and fixed telephony, 3 out 4 consumers intend to stay with their
current provider;
- even in markets where there is more than one provider, changing from one supplier
to another is very difficult in the water distribution and urban transport sectors.
Only about half of those who have a choice say that this is easy for electricity
supply, gas supply, extra urban transport and postal services. Only in the case of
fixed telephony, mobile telephony, retail banking, insurance services and especially
air transport, at least 2 EU consumers out of 3 who have a choice say that it is easy
to change;

5
The headers in the table are shortcuts for the questions which the interviewer asked and
which were:
(1) 12 months from now, how likely are you to still be using a (SERVICE) service?
(2) You would find it easy to change from one (SERVICE) (SUPPLIER) to another; there
are no barriers.
(3) Buying (SERVICE) services from an (SUPPLIER), outside of (YOUR COUNTRY)
is perfectly possible and can even be
interesting.
(4) I prefer dealing with a (YOUR NATIONALITY) (SERVICE) (SUPPLIER).
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- buying services from another country is only considered possible and of interest in
the case of air transport (4 consumers out 5), and, to a lesser extent, retail banking
and mobile telephone services (48% and 41% respectively). In the other sectors, this
possibility is only taken seriously by between 14% and 29% of consumers;
- a very large majority of users prefer to deal with a national supplier. The lowest
figure – but still higher than 60% - is for air transport.
4.3. OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRIORITY ACTIONS
Another advanced analysis, called the two-dimensional analysis, was carried out so as to
define precise and concrete action to improve consumers’ satisfaction with SGIs,
The aim was to determine:
• the areas where the SGI does not perform well and where actions to change the
situation are needed to improve consumers’ satisfaction;
• the areas where the SGI performs well and where no action is needed.
This is done via a diagram that takes into account the following information:
• the average satisfaction score given by consumers to each criterion related to
quality, pricing and image (marked as ‘Satisfaction’ on the X-axis of the map)
• the weighting or contribution of each criterion (quality, pricing and image) to
consumers’ satisfaction - this weighting represents how far each criterion is
important to consumers (marked as ‘Importance’ on the Y-axis of the map).
From the analysis of each diagram for each sector, the following main opportunities for
action can be highlighted:
Pricing
As noted earlier, pricing issues are major factors determining consumer satisfaction for
most of the services surveyed.
Among these components, price levels are identified as the main issue in all the services.
Consumers tend to think that they pay too much for services of general interest.
In addition, EU25 consumers tend to think that suppliers do not offer enough by way of
special tariffs for specific target groups or specific usage.
Actions designed to increase consumer satisfaction should therefore focus on these
price components for maximum effect.
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Image
Consumer satisfaction with urban transport, extra-urban transport and postal services is
mostly influenced by the image that their supplier has on the market. More specifically,
in
these sectors, elements such as the reputation of the supplier, its willingness to put the
client first and its flexibility are of great importance for consumers.
Quality
Quality of service is the element that has the least influence on overall consumer
satisfaction and yet people are most satisfied with this element when assessing SGIs. This
statement tends to prove that consumers take quality of service for granted.
Consequently, long-term actions are appropriate in this area. Making the consumers
aware of the quality of the services that they are using could improve satisfaction with
these services in the long term.
Urban and extra-urban transport
Urban and extra-urban transport are clearly the services with which consumers are least
satisfied. Moreover, this observation applies to almost all the countries. Actions therefore
need to be prioritised for these two services.
Actions to improve satisfaction could target the maintenance of transport networks and
vehicles, reliability of the services (frequency of service, punctuality, etc.) and the way in
which problems and questions raised by consumers are handled.
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5. Recommendations
5.1. QUESTIONNAIRE AND SURVEY DESIGN
Overall, the questionnaire and survey design used for this survey appear to be robust. The
questionnaire survey and the underlying model and methodology could be used for future
surveys without major changes.
Nevertheless, from a methodological point of view, some small improvements might be
made:
- some questions might benefit from being rephrased, in particular to avoid negative
formulations;
- during the interview it is important to establish whether respondents are actually
aware of the degree of liberalisation of the sector in their country. This would
allow for a more accurate interpretation of their answers to certain questions.
A possible conclusion that emerges from the results of this survey is that consumer
satisfaction in certain services – e.g. air transport and retail banking - is affected by how
far people are familiar with the internet (since those who are may take more advantage of
certain services). In order to test this hypothesis, a question on this topic might be
included in future surveys.
With the current survey approach, it is extremely difficult to carry out an analysis of
complaints because of the low number of complaints made by the respondents. Since the
option of much larger sample sizes is likely to be rejected due to cost implications, this
issue may have to be dealt with in another way, e.g. by asking other types of
related
questions for which the response rates are likely to be higher.
We also recommend that, for future surveys, the timeframe in which the survey
processing, quality control, data analysis and advanced statistical processing is to take
place, should be sufficiently long. At least 3 months should be available for analysis and
reporting – allowing more interaction with the Commission about the more advanced
analyses that should be pursued in the light of the actual findings.
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5.2. AREAS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
There are a number of areas where we think that further research might be of value, both
for a better understanding of the findings to date and in order to improve the
interpretation of the results of future surveys.
These areas are as follows:
- further investigation would need to be done to see whether there is a link between
consumer satisfaction and the extent to which a sector has been liberalised.
- in many services, there are several countries where there are relatively high
percentages of both satisfied and dissatisfied consumers (compared to the EU
average). This phenomenon often holds true for the NMS10 when considered as a
group. It would be useful to investigate whether this finding results from cultural
factors (e.g. certain cultures being more ‘critical’ and others more ‘neutral’ and
still others more ‘extreme’ in their opinions) or whether it reflects considerable
disparities across the countries in terms of the quality of the service delivery or
whether it merely has to do with the maturity of the market.
- there appears to be a link between a low degree of consumer satisfaction and the
strong weighting of the ‘image’ driver, limited competition in the sector and
frequent use of the service. It would be useful to examine this relationship and to
ascertain whether it is just a coincidence or rather the result of a more deepseated
relationship.
- although the differences across socio-economic groups are not always very large,
they nevertheless exist and are statistically significant in many cases. Several
assumptions could be formulated about certain general trends (e.g. why older
people tend to be more satisfied or why students and self-employed people are
systematically more critical), but it would be interesting to have a fuller
understanding of the factors underlying these differences in behaviour.
- an interesting exercise would also be to examine whether any form of statistical
clustering of countries and/or services makes sense. This would allow the
Commission to answer questions where particular consumers have similar attitudes
across sectors and countries. It might even lead to the definition of a typology for
EU consumers. This could help in predicting consumer behaviour towards changes in
market structures and service offerings.
A final thought is that the way the survey and model has been constructed allows for its
extension into other services and also the retailing of consumer goods. If the Commission
were to consider the inclusion of new service categories in the future, a small preliminary
study and small pilot survey could be undertaken in order to design and test the survey
questions that should be included in the questionnaire.