Consulta recently released its combined National South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for 2017, covering brands from 24 different service-related consumer industries. This includes banking, retail, tech and insurance.
The report details which companies are favoured by consumers, with emphasis on great customer experience. It's also interesting to note the direct correlation between delivering great customer service and sustaining success in business.
Over a five year period from 2013 to 2017, companies such as Capitec, Nando's, Santam, Metropolitan, Woolworths and Apple have consistently outperformed their competitors in terms of Customer Satisfaction.
So, customer service is vital to the success of any company, regardless of the industry. People want value for their money, especially now with the global economy in such distress.
The report includes 97 brands, drawing insight from a pool of 307 000 individuals. Let's take a look at some of the most notable findings.
To meet the industry standard for Banking, brands had to hit a SAcsi score of 77.0 points or higher. ABSA fell well short of this mark with a score of 73.3, while Capitec came out on top with an impressive 85.3.
ABSA's split from Barclays, along with the recent rebranding, could have a lot to do with this. We often see the focus on customer service decline a bit when a company undergoes change or restructuring, and it reveals a lot about the brand.
Santam offers a good example of how keeping your services and products clear and simple will resonate with consumers. Santam has undergone various internal changes throughout the years, but has never lost sight of what's important – staying connected to the needs of the customer.
In the Insurance sector, short-term insurer Virseker achieved the highest score with 81.1. Santam has also performed well over the last five years, consistently maintaining a position above the 80 point mark.
Vodacom led the Cellular Network Provider industry with 79.2 points while MTN fell to a score of 74.2. In line with these scores, we also saw cumulative growth revenue rates rise for Vodacom and drop for MTN. Vodacom's growth rate grew from 8% in 2013 to 18% in 2017. MTN's dropped from 2% in 2013 to 1% in 2017.
Leaders in other industries included Apple in Cellular Handsets, Woolworths in Retail, Metropolitan in Life Insurance, Discovery in Medical Insurance and Nando's in Fast Food.
The top five performing brands, overall, were Woolworths, Nando’s, Capitec, Debonairs and Apple, while the top five performing industries were Sports Clothing, Fast Food, Automobiles, Cellular Handsets and Life Insurance.
Sectors which performed the poorest, with the lowest customer satisfaction, were Municipalities, WiFi Providers, Airlines, Telecom Stores and Medical Insurance.
As per Prof Adré Schreuder, founder and Chairperson of the SAcsi, Customer Experience isn't a random phenomenon, but an increasingly vital business function that demands a very detailed, scientific strategy and constant focus.
Interesting enough, South African brands performed better than most other markets, and we're on par with US companies. It could be suggested that this is a result of our relatively low expectations compared to those of international first-world economies.
So, at least our government has taught us that much. Expect the worst whenever you leave your house, and you'll never be disappointed.
According to Schreuder, however, we're slowly beginning to realise that we have rights as consumers, and we're beginning to exercise those rights. The South African economy is consumer-driven, after all, even recession-proof.
As our expectations grow and we become more and more involved with the international market, we could see brand customer satisfaction plummet in the coming years.