While these issues are not necessarily new, Ask Afrika’s recent Orange Index Awards show that the slip in customer service from South Africa’s telecommunications companies is starting to become more obvious.
Speaking to BusinessTech, Ask Afrika said that service levels have decreased across the internet service provider, telecommunications and financial institution industries.
“Telecommunications was previously one of the top two performing industries, but has consistently been replaced by the food retail, automotive and clothing retail industries,” the group said.
“Although customers are deriving less emotional satisfaction from their interactions with these three industries, this aspect has decreased drastically in the telecommunication space,” it said.
Ask Afrika noted that, compared to other industries, customer loyalty is influenced by different dimensions within the telecommunications and ISP space.
“Telecommunications companies should firstly focus on delivering a fair service to its customers, while also delivering on basic service dimensions and reducing the amount effort a customer has to put in when interacting with these companies,” it said.
“Within the ISP industry customer loyalty is mostly influenced by basic service delivery, followed by trusting the organisation and the emotional impact the interaction had on the customer.”
Companies are not getting the basics right
While South Africa’s telecommunication companies are a standout concern, the data shows that customer service has seen a general decline across South Africa.
According to a recent SuperOffice Benchmark report, 92% of customers indicated they would stop purchasing from a company after three or fewer poor customer-service experiences.
It noted that customers expect zero repeats – which means that first-call resolution is more important than ever before – but they also want personalised service and don’t want to be ‘case numbers’.
This is is also clear from the Customer Service Benchmark Report 2018, which found that:
- 62% of companies do not respond to customer-service emails;
- 90% of companies do not acknowledge or inform the customer that an email has been received;
- 97% of companies do not send follow-up emails to customers to see if they are satisfied with the response;
- Only 20% of companies are able to answer questions in full on the first reply;
- The average response time to handle a customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes.