The South African Consumer Satisfaction Index showed that the country scored a customer satisfaction score of 77.6 out of 100.
“As South Africans we’re very critical of ourselves, and for years we haven’t really measured up. Now we can say we did measure up. It’s only Turkey that’s better than us in the licence holder countries where this is measured,” SACI founder and chair André Schreuder told CNBC Africa.
“We’ve actually beaten the likes of USA, the UK, some of the best European countries. I think we have something to be proud of.”
The satisfaction score was measured using 19 industries. A total sample of 44, 200 web-based and telephonic interviews with standardised questions were also used to test the satisfaction of customers.
“[The sample] definitely says that there are some industries that are really doing well. Let’s not be only optimistic, they’re some industries that are really battling. If you take our airlines industry, medical aid industry and banking, those are some of the lower scoring industries,” Schreuder explained.
“Then we take our retail industry: food, clothing, petrol stations, even athletic shoes. Athletic shoes came out this year as the top scoring industry, which means that customers really love that particular product.”
Premium brands such as Woolworths were among the high scoring companies, but Shreuder explained that discounter brands also have the opportunity to do well. Other leading companies included Adidas, Nike, Carling Black Label, Puma and Appletiser.
“Look and feel and corporate image does play a role, but it’s more to do with the expectations customers have of that particular product of the company. You have certain expectations, and when you actually engage in the experience, we measure your confirmation or discomfromation of that expectation,” added Shreuder.
South Africa’s public sector will also be examined before the 2014 general elections to ascertain the depth of the problems in the sector. Major entities such as the South African Revenue Service and the Department of Trade and Industry will also be examined.
“There’s a very strong correlation [between customer satisfaction and brand loyalty]. In this particular model we can actually see the degree to loyalty is actually quite strong, which means that customers come back because they’re satisfied,” said Shreuder.
“In America, this is actually linked to their economic share prices. Soon we would be able to actually report on this with share prices and say share price and customer satisfaction move together.