Good service was voted by 40% of South Africans as the number one reason they fall for a local business. Pic: Supplied

Local businesses are the cornerstones of South African communities. The long and the short of it? Their success is the nation’s success. They, therefore, need to be set up to succeed. Cue Santam’s Most Loved Local report! It recognises the top businesses getting it right, while delving into the very important question of what turns clients into fans.

Collaborating with respected independent research house World Wide Worx and its CEO Arthur Goldstuck, Santam asked South Africans to vote for their top 12 commercial entities across 12 categories, identified through social listening. Chapmans Peak Hotel (accommodation category), Marble Restaurant (eatery category) and Tubb’s Car Wash (car wash category) were some of the winners – find the full list of winners here .

What did all the winners have in common? 

Exceptional SERVICE. Good service was voted by 40% of South Africans as the number one reason they fall for a local business. This review for Dream Body Fitness – winner in the gym category – says it all:

Amazing space... literally changed my life. Feels like a home gym. The first place that ever really cared. I’ve had multiple gym contracts in my life. This is the first I’ve stuck to! Almost 30kg lost and never felt stronger and better about myself!”

Quality products came in as the second most important factor (18%), followed by value for money (10%). Detailed results can be viewed on the campaign page, but in a nutshell, there’s nothing that turns South Africans on like service with a smile! That shows that good pricing alone simply doesn’t cut it.

Goldstuck says another interesting insight that emerged is that age does matter. While 50-pluses are all about service, youngsters aged 18 to 24 put more weight on quality products. “I think the younger you are, the more image and status conscious you are and quality products feed into that. Whereas the older you are, the more you want to feel valued and acknowledged.”

Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe, chief marketing officer at Santam, says he hopes the research gives businesses real insights into their clients, “It’s a framework to build on. Businesses should keep connecting with clients to find out what they want – that’s the way to build lasting relationships and turn clients into fans.”