What are Puerto Ricans looking for in good customer service?

May 23, 2016

Ana Marrero, a 48-year-old resident of Guaynabo, says that she always gets service at her neighborhood pharmacy and local bakery that surpasses her expectations. The employees in those stores know her, they’re friendly, and they always try to get her the product she needs. She says she prefers these businesses over others where the employees are “cold and unfriendly.” The mother of four does not hesitate to recommend her favorite businesses to others.

If you are a local entrepreneur, surely you will be interested to know that Ana was one of 520 people interviewed in person, house by house, around the Island to learn their expectations about good customer service. Banco Popular’s Business Banking Division asked Gaither International, a marketing research firm, to develop the study so the results could be shared with small and medium-size businesses. The interviews were conducted in March, 2016, to adults age 18 or older throughout Puerto Rico.

What do some Puerto Ricans think defines good service?

Gaither’s analysis showed that for Puerto Rican consumers, “being friendly” is the most important characteristic when buying a product or service, whether in person or by telephone.

In the study, consumers responded to the question: “When you look for information or buy a product or service, by telephone or in person, what are the most important attributes you expect in the people or employees who are helping you or attending to you?” Gaither asked them to rank 13 characteristics associated with good customer service on a scale of 1 to 3.

The 5 main characteristics selected by those polled were related to the treatment by the employees:

  • Friendliness
  • Being greeted and saying goodbye. When the service is by telephone, the expectation is that the employee will “say your name and pay attention”
  • Being patient even if a problem arises
  • Knowing how to listen
  • Knowledge of the product or service being sold

For men, receiving “friendly” service was most important, unlike women, who preferred that the employee “is patient.”

For younger people (ages 18 to 34), “knowledge of the product or service” and “friendliness” when being attended to personally are equally important (19%85InfogA



Customer personality characteristics when buying a product or service

As part of the study, the consumers chose from among various personality characteristics the ones that described them when they were shopping. For example: aggressive or calm, introverted or extroverted.

The results showed:

  • The four most common responses were personality characteristics that can be described as “positive”: concerned about price (68%), patient (66%) careful (66%) and flexible (54%)
  • Men are more flexible than women
  • People over 55 reported being more patient and careful than young people (ages 18 to 34) and adults (ages 35 to 54)
  • Compared to men, women are more moderate, meaning they take the price into consideration when buying a product or service
  • People over 55 showed the same tendency toward flexibility as young people and a greater tendency to be patient and careful


Good service = More sales

We invite you to review the quality of your business’ customer service. There are always areas of opportunity and strategies you can implement to make your product or service stand out from the competition. Provide good service and customers will tell the world about your effort. An unhappy customer will also talk, but negatively, to neighbors, family and work colleagues. In fact, a study by the American Society for Quality showed that a dissatisfied customer will tell between 10 and 15 people about the bad experience. Additional, 67% will no longer support a business after receiving bad service.

Remember that good customer service leads to more sales, more referrals and favorable recognition of your brand.