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South Africa’s best companies for customer experience

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The National South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for 2017, compiled by Consulta, shows a strong correlation between successful customer experience strategies and business outcomes – albeit in only a few selected brands in the local economy.

In South Africa, the definitive industry benchmark has covered 24 industries, mostly in the third tier of the country’s economy: service-related, consumer industries.

This has included 97 brands and has drawn detailed insights from a sample of over 307,000 individuals.

Each year, Consulta publishes the combined National Index where all the industries measured in the previous year are combined into a National Index for South Africa.

The National SAcsi index started at a score of 77.6 when it was first published for 2013, after which it dropped to 74.1 in 2014 – the lowest score in the last five years.

The Index reported that Nando’s (Fast Food), Capitec (Banking), Woolworths(Supermarkets and Clothing), and Apple (Mobile Handsets) are the consumer brands that consistently outperformed their competitors in terms of Customer Satisfaction over the five-year period from 2013 to 2017.

In short-term and long-term insurance sectors, Santam and Metropolitan showed consistent high scores respectively.

“Over the years, the SAcsi has consistently reflected a strong relationship between Customer Satisfaction and sustained business performance,” said Consulta CEO, Professor Adré Schreuder.

“It is interesting to see that the average Perceived Value metric – a perception of value-for-money – across all surveys also closely correlated with movements in key economic indicators such as GDP, inflation and the Rand value relative to major world currencies.”

The worrying aspect of this insight is clear once the poor performing economy is considered, specifically in the Perceived Value metric which has fallen from 79 to 75.9, the professor said.

This is one area where companies can significantly benefit from investment into improved customer centricity and the delivery of great customer experience, Schreuder said.

Over the five-year period, consumer industries such as Fast Food, Mobile Handsets and Life Insurance were the best performing sectors, with SA-csi scores ranging from 79 to 82.

On the other end of the spectrum, Municipalities and Wireless Internet Providers delivered much lower scores (59.3 for main metropolitan municipalities and 67.8 for wireless internet industry).

Industries on the rise that have improved their year-to-year averages include Mobile Handsets, Banking, Fast Food, Life Insurance and Full-Service Restaurants.

Short-Term Insurance, Cellular Networks and Medical Insurance have been stable over the period, while Municipalities and Supermarkets are on the decline.

“The common thread between the best performing brands through every measure has been a clear focus on consistent delivery and Customer Experience. Doing so correlates with positive revenue growth, even in a distressed economy.

“For example, in Clothing, Woolworths and PEP scored similarly across almost every metric, although they target very different markets and employ very different strategies suited to their segments,” Schreuder said.

The following industries showed a visible relationship between Customer Satisfaction and publicly available financial results.

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