Finweek English Edition - - COVER STORY -

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

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