Covid-19 reputations: Air New Zealand nosedives, supermarkets rise – survey

Air New Zealand’s reputation has nosedived over the way it has handled refunds to customers, according to a new survey.

A regional Air New Zealand plane grounded at Auckland Airport due to fog. 6 July 2016.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Consumer research company Opinion Compare asked 478 people at the start of the month on how their opinions of major companies had changed.

Air New Zealand’s reputation suffered the worst, while that of supermarkets surged.

Opinion Compare founder and chief executive Gavin Male said the airline’s decision not to refund customers whose flights had been cancelled because of Covid-19 had “tarnished” its reputation.

“In a time where lots of people are sort of skimping a bit of money, everyone could do with the cashflow.”

However, Male said he did not expect the airline’s low approval ratings to last forever.

“I think a brand like Air New Zealand would certainly bounce back because they are very intrinsic in the population.”

Male said the airline had previously had high public approval ratings.

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Photo: Opinion Compare

Supermarket brands, such as Countdown and Pak ‘n Save, were the star performers in the survey, as their approval ratings jumped up by more than 25 percent.

Male said many people felt supermarkets had stepped up at a time when people really needed them.

“They … implemented procedures and policies and so on that made it feel safe.

“After that initial panic there wasn’t really much in the way of bulk buying which meant people got what they needed from those supermarkets,” he said.

Other companies to suffer in the public’s view were The Warehouse and NZ Post, falling 22 percent and 15 percent respectively.

Male put this down to delays in fulfilling and delivering online and overseas orders.

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