TRENDS INFLUENCING THE INDUSTRY
A recent South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SACSI) put fast foods top of the pops, with the brands surveyed scoring a customer satisfaction result of 79 out of 100. The brands included in the survey (based on their market share and geographical footprint) were Debonairs, Chicken Licken, KFC, McDonald’s and Steers. SA’s customer satisfaction scores were ranked higher than those of the UK and Turkey in this category, with the US serving as the international benchmark for customer satisfaction, scoring 80 out of 100.
SA brands, however, cannot afford to become complacent and considering the aforementioned, SA consumers have high expectations of their favoured brands. A recent survey by Ernst & Young reveals that a majority of organisations are struggling to adapt business models to capitalise on a new generation of consumers who are now, more than ever, “harder to define, understand and please”. These new empowered consumers want a greater say in how they experience service and want to be active ‘co-creators’ and not passive consumers.
Derek Engelbrecht, director of retail and consumer products at Ernst & Young (EY) Africa, comments on the findings: “These trends show that, in recent years, customer behaviour has changed beyond recognition.” He says that understanding the implications of these trends, and developing solid principles of effective marketing, will help organisations navigate through this new environment.
The economic downturn has had a big part to play here. Due to spending pat- terns and lower economic activity, brands are seeking to produce ‘value’ offerings to maintain customer and associated sales volumes. Economic restraints, and the fact that consumers are spoilt for choice, has seen brands scramble for new ways to attract consumers and ensure existing customers remain loyal to the brand.
Greg Smith, GM of Maxi’s, comments: “If your business is inefficient, the customer will step out and go to a competitor by default.” But here the benefits of the franchisor safety net come into play. Smith explains that the company puts a lot of effort into getting the franchisee to understand trends affecting business as franchisees often get stuck in their ways. “This is where the marketers