Money Consumer Coles and Woolworths can’t get no (customer) satisfaction, survey shows
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Coles and Woolworths can’t get no (customer) satisfaction, survey shows

Shoppers are displeased with the supermarket duopoly. Photo: Getty/TND
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Consumers have given a big thumbs down to Australia’s supermarket duopoly, with smaller stores streaking ahead of Woolworths and Coles in a new satisfaction survey of shoppers.

A South Australian supermarket chain has been voted the best in the country while Coles and Woolworths have been rated least satisfactory, the survey of nearly 3000 shoppers by consumer advocacy group Choice found.

Too much packaging on products was the biggest gripe for shoppers, the supermarket review released revealed.

Consumers ranked SA’s Foodland first – with an overall satisfaction score of 82 per cent – for its helpfulness of staff and locally produced food, followed closely by NSW-based Harris Farm Markets (81 per cent) which also stood out for quality of fresh produce.

“Shoppers are very keen to support local producers and local companies and farmers,” Choice spokeswoman Rachel Clemons said.

Costco came in third for its specials and discounts.

Aldi came in fourth and was rated the best value for money – much-needed good news for the low-cost, German-owned supermarket, which was recently revealed to be the nation’s least healthy supermarket.

FoodSwitch’s State of the Food Supply report released last month showed that Aldi’s private-label products were the most “ultra-processed” of the nation’s supermarkets.

Aldi had the highest proportion of ‘discretionary’ products – or junk food – on its shelves at around 50 per cent.

IGA and FoodWorks were ranked fifth and sixth by Choice, with customers approving of their ease of checkout.

While Coles and Woolworths claim almost 62 per cent of the grocery market share, more than half of respondents (54 per cent) said they saw little difference between them.

Woolworths was ranked second last, with a satisfaction rating of 69 per cent, while Coles came in last (67 per cent) because customers weren’t happy with the availability of locally produced food, speed and ease of checkout and quality of fresh produce.

The only positive feedback for the two major chains was a high rating for opening hours.

“Convenience in terms of number of stores and opening hours, that’s where Coles and Woolworths just have it in the bag,” Ms Clemons said.

“But people are looking for more than that. They’re also wanting fresh, good quality, local produce.

The duopoly need to take note.”

While too much product packaging was the most common frustration for shoppers overall (54 per cent), a lack of locally produced products (45 per cent) was the second biggest gripe.

Just over 40 per cent of respondents said they use three or more grocery chains for their shopping.

Customer satisfaction can make or break a business

The bad news for the nation’s big supermarkets comes as new research shows the huge effect customer satisfaction – or dissatisfaction – can have on a business’s bottom line.

A report titled Quantifying the Business Impact of Customer Service in Australia by Zendesk released this week shows that companies that fail to deliver quality customer service experiences are likely to see sales drop.

Nine out of 10 customers surveyed said bad experiences with a company resulted in a change to their future buying decisions, while almost half of respondents (42 per cent) stopped buying from a company altogether due to a bad experience.

Customers rated a bad experience as anything from waiting too long, to issues not being resolved by a company.

-with AAP

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