/ 30 March 2016

Takeaways and technology keep South Africans happy

Food is served at Nando's
Food is served at Nando's

Three of the five top brands in South Africa for 2015, as established by the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SACSI), are fast-food brands selling chicken. Perhaps it is better to draw no further conclusions than that South Africans like to eat chicken on the run. 

The three brands – Nando’s and Chicken Licken (neck-and-neck at 83 index points) and KFC (hardly a beak’s distance behind at 82.9 index points) – are sandwiched between the restaurant chain Wimpy (83.6) in number one position and Apple (82.7), which sounds like food but isn’t, at number five. 

The 2015 national customer satisfaction index, which consolidates research covering 21 industries and 118 brands measured during 2015 via a total sample of 51 000 respondents, is used by companies as a benchmark of the quality of goods and services on offer in South Africa. 

Professor Adrè Schreuder, chief executive of Consulta and founder of SACSI, said: “Not only will companies with higher customer satisfaction produce higher returns, they will also do so with less volatility, risk exposure and, better cash-flows. Having satisfied customers just makes managing your business easier.” 

High customer satisfaction scores act as a buffer in tough economic times, when typically consumers shop around for more, according to Schreuder. 

“Brands that stay close to their customers hedge their bets against lower buying intents and earn greater loyalty from customers during a downturn,” he says. “The best advice for South African companies in these tough economic times is to stay close to your customers and provide exceptional value for money, which is the new battleground for differentiation.” 

It is not surprising to see that the most improved sectors after restaurants, which increased by 6.7 index points, were wireless internet and mobile handsets. Take a look at customers around any fast-food outlet and it will be obvious that mucking about on your mobile is up there with fast food as the nation’s favourite “hobbies”, leading to demand that seems to have pressured the service providers into improving their service. 

Schreuder says the survey shows that while the South African economy is under pressure, some local companies are responding to tough circumstances by providing either greater value for money or better quality products and services. 

Sectors that are on the way down according to this survey are supermarkets, which were down by 4 index points; life insurance, which might strike one as somewhat disadvantaged in any kind of satisfaction contest, and fuel stations. 

Overall, South African customers of household goods and services were found to be slightly more satisfied in 2015 than in previous years across a number of industries. 

South Africa has scored a customer satisfaction score of 76 out of 100, representing a significant recovery from 2013 and 2014. The score contrasts sharply with the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which has declined consistently since 2013. – African News Agency (ANA)