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Hey, I thought I told you? Keep your freebies! We are not interested


What does it take to earn the loyalty of an Australian customer? This is exactly what one business review website, WOMO.com.au, set out to answer with a survey of more than 1,800 Australians. (Personally, a free slice of Black Forest cake every time I check in will do just fine.)

The survey asked respondents to prioritise the influential factors that would make them use a business again within three key service categories: personal care (hairdressers, beauticians and massage therapists), food service (cafes, bars and restaurants), and tradespeople.

And just so you know, the survey has caught on quite well, attracting an estimated one in four Australians and a new review every five minutes.

The results showed a shift from a nation once ready to snap up a bargain or freebie to a generation more concerned with a premium quality of service and a higher value of product. We already told you Aussies don’t want your freebies. If you didn’t believe it then, now you know.

With personal care, Australians are more likely to choose vanity over price, with 87 per cent rating high expertise and quality service as very important in influencing their return to a business, while only 35 per cent placed high importance on low prices, discounts and promotions.

81 per cent rate attentive and courteous staff as very important so keep those smiles wide and the river of ‘thank you’ flowing. Surprisingly, just 40 per cent placed significance on location and, only 33 per cent chose fast service. Yes, people are willing to drive miles just for a lovely spa day.

Are you a hairdresser or beautician? Well, those free samples you are giving might be a waste of time and money. Why? 46 per cent of consumers rate this as the least important factor in influencing them to return to a personal care service.

When it comes to food, $10 steaks and happy hour appear to have fallen by the wayside as 93 per cent of Australians rate good quality food and beverages as the most important factor in influencing them to return, while only 29 per cent still worship low prices and promotions.

Attentive and courteous staff and fast service were also rated highly (79 per cent and 54 per cent respectively), followed by general atmosphere (44 per cent) and convenient location (40 per cent). Once again, keep those smiles wide…

Quality over price continues when it comes to repeat business with tradespeople. High expertise and quality workmanship (93 per cent), and good communication and friendly service (81 per cent), are very important for consumers in deciding whether to come back.

Again, a smaller number of Australians rated low prices and fast service (40 per cent and 53 per cent respectively) as a ‘very important’ factor in influencing their decision to return.

No one is perfect, so what next when you a mistake happens? When asked what would make a customer return following bad service from a business, only 2 per cent said they would be most persuaded by promotions and sales.

More significant was feedback from other customers (important to 11 per cent of respondents), a small gift or apology (important to 18 per cent), new management (20 per cent) and, finally, the most likely to persuade, significant compensation (47 per cent).