The latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) from consulting group Consulta, takes a look at South Africa’s service stations for the first time – revealing which petrol stations are rated the best by South African consumers.
According to Consulta, the overall customer satisfaction score for the fuel station industry is high at 80, however there is no outright leader in the customer satisfaction stakes, which leaves the field open for a brand to take the lead in providing a differentiated customer experience.
“Fuel, as a product, is a commodity and aspects such as quality of fuel is essentially a hygiene factor, and not a differentiator. Most consumers have no understanding of fuel quality at brand A versus brand B and expect that they will get a product of appropriate standard at every fuel station,” it said.
However, what is not a commodity is the customer experience and the choice that consumers have.
“Here the stakes are high to attract the patronage of customers who are prepared to go out of their way to use a specific brand because of the experience and perceived value they get at a particular fuel station,” said Ineke Prinsloo, Head of Customer Insights at Consulta.
According to Consulta’s survey results, Engen currently leads among the top services stations (Engen, Shell, BP, Sasol, Total and Caltex) though only by a small margin.
All fuel station brands perform on par (79.6) in terms of overall Customer Satisfaction scores, with the exception of Caltex which is below par.
While all brands perform at a high level in terms of customer satisfaction, there are no outright leaders.
“This suggests that while fuel station brands deliver a high-quality experience for customers, it is largely an undifferentiated experience. An ‘on par’ score refers to the fact that there is no statistical difference compared with the rest of the industry,” Consulta noted.
Engen (80.8) and Shell (80.3) lead by small margins, followed closely by BP (79.2) and Sasol (79.2) – all on par – followed by Caltex (77.2) below par.
In terms of complaints incidence and handling, the industry average of complaints incidence is 8.7/100 and complaint handling is 45.0/100, which puts the industry on par with international standards in terms of how well issues are addressed.
Sasol has the lowest complaint incidence (6.4) of all fuel station brands, and an equally impressive complaint resolution score (55.9) – both scores are significantly better than the industry par.
This means that Sasol has a low incidence of customer complaints and is also best at resolving them.
“It is important to note that of the complaint types, 80% of complaints relate to the ‘human’ aspects such as staff skills and knowledge, attitude of staff, responsiveness and service,” Consulta said.
“This emphasises the importance of customer service training and developing a customer-centric mindset and processes among employees who are the ultimate delivery mechanism of customer satisfaction.”