Overall winner of the 2018 ASK AFRIKA ORANGE INDEX: Woolworths Food. Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The service industry is transforming as we enter the fourth digital revolution and it is important for companies to get the correct synergy between humans and technology. 

This was just one of the top-line insights revealed at the recent 2018/19 Ask Afrika Orange Index Awards where the overall top 10 winners of South Africa’s premier service excellence benchmark, as well as 29 industry category winners, were announced.

The top 10 Ask Afrika Orange Index winners:

These are the companies which achieved the highest service score overall.


“These top 10 winners all display service excellence and are able to meet growing expectations from customers who are faced with greater choice and display diminishing loyalty,” said Sarina de Beer, director of client experience at Ask Afrika at the awards. 

“This year there was a strong dominance from the retail and automotive industries in the top 10 winners. It is interesting that the telecommunications and financial services industries are no longer winning as they used to a few years ago. The top three industries in the 2018/19 Ask Afrika Orange Index in rank order were the automotive, clothing retail and food retail industries.” 

The 29 Industry Winners of the 2018 ASK AFRIKA ORANGE INDEX. Supplied

The Ask Afrika Orange Index benchmark has a 18-year history and measures best practice in service not only within, but across, different industries. 

This year 167 companies were measured across 29 industries. 

Over 12 000 interviews were conducted with South African consumers using the Target Group Index (TGI) and Ask Afrika random digit dialing sample, about 6 000 were telephonic and 6 000 face-to-face interviews. 

This sample is randomly selected and no credit or sample lists are used. The results are independently audited by auditing firm, BDO, and statistical consultant and sampling specialist, Dr. Ariane Neethling.

“Methodological rigour is important because it ensures the robustness of the data. The response rate for the survey was above the industry norm of 75%. If the response rate for the survey is low, the data is not representative and cannot be generalised back to the South African population. Our results are double-checked for accuracy and the entire survey takes about 12 months to conclude, which is really fast for research of this magnitude,” explained De Beer.

The 29 industry category winners in the 2018/19 Ask Afrika Orange Index:

These companies achieved the highest service score within their industry category. New winners are highlighted in green and the super winners (having won the industry category for three consecutive years) are highlighted in yellow.

 

Industry category

Company

1

Airlines

British Airways

2

Automotive

BMW

3

Building Retail

Bathroom Bizarre

4

Car Rental

Avis

5

Car Tracker

Cartrack

6

Casino

The Boardwalk Casino

7

Clothing Retail

Woolworths Clothing

8

Electronics and White Goods

DionWired

9

Entertainment

Ster-Kinekor

10

Fast Food Outlets

Burger King

11

Financial Institutions

FNB

12

Food Retail Stores

Woolworths Food

13

Funeral/Burial Services

Avbob Funeral Services

14

Furniture Shops

Beares

15

Home and Decor

16

Hotels

Protea Hotels

17

Internet Service Provider

MWEB/Tiscali/Global

18

Long-Term Insurance (LT) Companies

Metropolitan LT

19

Mass Retail

Makro

20

Medical Aid Companies

Discovery

21

Online Shopping

Takealot

22

Petrol Stations

Engen

23

Pharmacies

Clicks Pharmacy

24

Private Hospitals

Netcare

25

Security, Armed Response Companies

Stallion

26

Short-Term Insurance (ST) Companies

Outsurance ST

27

Sport Retail

Total Sports

28

Telecommunications

Cell C Mobile

29

Vehicle Consumables

Tiger Wheel & Tyre


Andrea Gevers, chief executive and founder of Ask Afrika, gave the opening address at the awards ceremony, which was held at The Venue in Melrose Arch on 4 October 2018.

“We have the third largest business process outsourcing (BPO) or call center industry in the world and it is 60% cheaper than the UK, but more expensive than India and Pakistan,” she said. “This is due to the cost of our telecommunications, which is too expensive to allow us to compete globally. If you put this together with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), South Africa will lag behind if we don’t acquire knowledge. AI is not putting people out of jobs, as was first predicted, even more people are needed to programme and operate it than the jobs it replaces, but these are educated people with knowledge.”

Gevers said that if you have the right personality, if you are friendly, conscientious and empathetic, and have some degree of education, you can get a job in a call centre. In the future, because of technological advancement, this will no longer be the case, she said. “The government protects workers, but it can’t protect jobs. In order for our service industry to remain competitive, we all need to make an effort and start investing in the industry and increasing our knowledge base.”

The top two service drivers of 2018/19 are:

The knowledge that employees have to resolve your queries/requests
The professionalism of employees in dealing with you

“The service drivers this year are less complex than in the last few years, which shows that most companies are not understanding what customers want and they are not getting the basics right,” said De Beer.

“Service levels have dropped by 1% year-on-year and emotional satisfaction has dropped by 10%. Even though we are better equipped to get the tactical dimensions right, such as net promoter score (NPS) and first-call resolution (FCR), we are not even doing that.  The tactical dimensions are essential, but don’t differentiate service ratings – we are failing at authenticity, fairness and,  values, which affect the emotional experience of a customer. Eight out of 11 core service dimensions are based on soft skills and we need to get all the dimensions right to have a truly customer-centric industry.”

For the first time, this year Ask Afrika will conduct Orange Index workshops, which take the place of reports. These workshops will include company and industry shifts over time, ranking of companies per industry, net promoter score (NPS), customer experience (CX), customer effort score (CES), treating customers fairly (TCF), first-call resolution (FCR), emotional consistency (ESat), trust and reputation (TR), call-centre satisfaction (CCI), actionable insights and strategic recommendations.

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