The latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) has revealed the best and worst banks in South Africa when it comes to customer satisfaction.
The banks measured were FNB, Absa, Nedbank, Standard Bank and Capitec, selected on the basis of market share.
Using a sample size of over 16,000 customers, Capitec and FNB came out tops, with scores of 82.2 and 79.3 respectively, both significantly higher than the average SAcsi score of 76.3 out of 100.
SAcsi noted that the only real change in the 2015 banking industry benchmark is the turn-around success of Absa. The bank showed an improvement of 2.4 points (from 72.4 to 74.8).
Nedbank ranked fourth, with an overall score of 74.8 while Standard Bank fell to the bottom of the list with an overall SAcsi score of 73.7 out of 100.
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The research into retail banking was conducted in the last quarter of 2014 and excludes the views of South African banks’ business clients.SAcsi is a national economic indicator of customer satisfaction with the quality of products and services available to household consumers in South Africa.
Prof. Adré Schreuder, founder of SAcsi and CEO of Consulta Research, said that Absa’s performance has improved across all of the contributors to the SA customer satisfaction index.
In addition, Absa’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) has improved from 8% to 15%.
The report noted that the move away from the traditional banking environment to a greater reliance on electronic channels has an effect on satisfaction, as digital banking creates less room for human error.
The SAcsi also measured satisfaction with specific retail banking channels. In terms of ATMs, the five banks maintained similar scores to last year at 79.7 out of 100. Nedbank and Absa have shown an upward movement.
“This particular score has a lot to do with ATM footprint,” said Schreuder.
When it comes to branches, Capitec is seen as the leader in customer satisfaction, although Nedbank’s scored improved by 3.6% from 2014.
The area of banking apps has shown the greatest upward movement, with all banks increasing their satisfaction scores for banking apps bar Nedbank, which maintained its position from last year.
FNB and Standard Bank both recorded higher scores than in 2014, with FNB named as the leader in this segment.
FNB is still the leader in satisfaction with mobile banking, although the gap seems to be closing. It is also the only bank to score above the industry average for online banking. Absa and Capitec improved on their satisfaction scores fro 2014.
The SAcsi examines a number of areas to obtain an overall score, including customer expectation, customer loyalty, perceived value and complaints.
Capitec and FNB were the best performers in the field of perceived quality and exceeded their customers’ expectations. In this SAcsi measure ABSA was again the only bank that showed progress in their score, improving by two index points.
Capitec is a clear leader in the area of perceived value according to the SAcsi, beating the average by 12 points. “Capitec is giving their customers what they expect (value-for-money banking), which means they understand their target customer segment very well,” said Schreuder.
FNB’s perceived value is higher than the industry average, while Absa improved perceived value amongst customers by a significant margin.
Customers of South African banks still have high levels of complaints, with the industry average at 22 percent of customers. “This means that almost one fifth of banking customers complain on various forums,” the report’s author said.
Capitec received the lowest level of complaints and the highest level of problem resolution, while the other four banks are on a par.
Capitec and FNB recorded lower customer loyalty scores although they maintained their leadership position in this metric. Absa, however, recorded an improved customer loyalty score, the report found.
SAcsi also tracks the well known Net Promoter Score (NPS), which describes the likelihood of customers recommending a particular bank.
Capitec scored the highest NPS of its peers, however Absa’s NPS has almost doubled from 2014.