TALLINN - Horror stories of wretched service and second-rate products are becoming increasingly common among Baltic shoppers. With the crisis in full swing, it has in some areas gotten to the point where the average consumer would assume companies will not live up to their promises and that suppliers will provide sub-standard goods.
It may then come as no surprise that a recent survey published by EPSI Research has found customer satisfaction in the Baltic states has reached a nadir.
"This year customer satisfaction reached its historical minimum for the last five years in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania," the report said.
The survey, which took place from September to December last year, compiled results from more than 750,000 respondents throughout Northern Europe and a select few other countries 's including Russia, the U.K., the Czech Republic and Greece. The topics of the questions ranged from customer satisfaction to outlook for the national economy.
One of the Baltic states was placed at either the top or bottom of the list 's and in some cases both 's in nearly every category.
In the survey, Estonia fared better than only Iceland in terms of customer satisfaction. Estonia received a score of 65.1 out of 100 in the category 's down more than 7 points from when the survey began five years ago.
Lithuania, meanwhile, topped the list of satisfied consumers with a score of 74.9 despite a drop of more than 6 points over the past five years. Latvia was ranked firmly in the middle of the list with a score of 69.5.
The survey also addressed how consumers perceive the overall economic outlook for their country over the next year, and how they perceive their own personal economic outlook over the same period.
The replies were meant to help determine how demand will develop over the course of the next year, the report said.
In this category, Lithuania had by far the lowest ranking of all the countries that took part. The country's rating was little more than one third of the rating it received last year.
Latvia followed its southern neighbor with the second worst economic outlook of consumers in the surveyed countries. Estonia was the best of the Baltics in this regard, but still only managed to edge out the Czech Republic and Iceland on the European scale.
Though respondents said they expected their own personal economic fortunes to be better than those of the country as a whole, Lithuania was still ranked last in terms of how good people thought their own economic outlook was.
EPSI 's short for Extended Performance Satisfaction Index 's is an economic indicator based on customer assessments of the quality of goods purchased in Europe. The report notes that it reflects the causes and consequences of customer satisfaction.
"EPSI is an important indicator of economic performance, both for individual firms and on the industry and national economy levels. It is related to leading indicators that are able to predict consumer spending and stock market growth," the report said.