Discussion paper: But are they any good?

In a range of service industries, consumers often encounter poor service including unexpected service outages, inexplicable fees and charges, transfer issues, billing errors, and long wait times to speak to unhelpful customer service.

Repeated instances of poor customer service are not only frustrating, but also results in costs well exceeding the purchase price and eroding trust in providers.


CPRC’s discussion paper But are they any good? explores the role of service quality information in consumer decision-making and choice, the impact of information asymmetry and offers important insights for policymakers and businesses.

Key findings include that a lack of independent and trusted service quality information often results in:

  • Over-reliance by consumers on inaccurate proxies such as brand;
  • Inertia or lack of switching due to a lack of confidence in the service level of alternative providers in the market;
  • A reduction in the incentive for companies to compete on the quality of customer service.

With many initiatives now underway across all levels of government aimed at opening up data through smart city, digital transformation and data sharing and release strategies, this report highlights opportunities for policymakers and regulators to better empower consumers with simple, meaningful service quality data and information.

The publication of CPRC’s discussion paper coincides with the commencement of our partnership with RMIT’s Behavioural Business Lab. The research partnership will investigate the preferences of energy consumers and the opportunities to make meaningful service and quality information more broadly available, and is supported by the Department of Energy, Water, Land and Planning.

Download the report and media release.