The latest Ask Afrika Orange Index provides trends, insights and thought leadership in customer service based on 13 years of data, across 32 industries and 155 companies, with representative businesses as well as the government sector.
What customers want
Service delivery is critical to the success of a business and what customers expect from the experience has changed over time. Transactional efficiency is no longer enough to satisfy customers, empathy and emotional connection have become an important part of the equation and the focus is now on the relationship.
Marketers have made this shift and are connecting with consumers on an emotional level, but it needs to continue into meeting with service. Customers were previously seen as respondents, but the power has changed, the playing field has become more consumer-centric, real interaction and emotional connection is required. Service delivery must consider the entire customer experience journey to satisfy customers.
The measurement of customer satisfaction has become bogged down in the evaluation of statistical methods dealing with multicollinearity and using the optimal number of scale points. The human element has been neglected. This approach may sound interesting in reports, but in reality it has lost sight of the consumer and should instead focus on developing new methods that are more responsive to what the customer is feeling. Further development of customer satisfaction levels will use visual representations of different emotions.
Spotting trends widens the window of opportunity. Being attentive to trends allows companies to understand current and emerging changes and identify factors that will have a direct impact on their customers, their product portfolio and their overall strategies.
This allows businesses to have a long-term view of how customers’ expectations and perceptions about service and the extent to which they have been successful in delighting customers throughout that journey.
Emotions at the heart of humans
Through years of research and insight into current trends, Ask Afrika has crafted a model of service that speaks strongly to humanity. The emotions that people feel in everyday life and those that arouse in others are at the heart of humanity. Organizations influence the emotions of consumers in very real ways. It seems inconceivable that organizations do not put consumers’ feelings about them at the heart of their research and strategies.
Traditionally, exclusively cognitive measures have been used to explain customer satisfaction. With the growing importance of emotions in research, it now seems clear that emotions play an important role in explaining customer satisfaction. It is increasingly evident that including an emotional measure in service models can better explain customer satisfaction (Smith & Bolton, 2002). In their 2002 article, Smith and Bolton conclude: “Our study gives interesting results regarding the role of emotion and shows that failure to take into account and / or measure customers’ emotional responses could lead to misleading predictions. on customer satisfaction and / or incomplete understanding. “Evaluations”.
Asplund (2007) reports that only emotionally satisfied customers had high levels of brand affinity and that their spending habits were different from those who were simply cognitively satisfied. Yu and Dean (2001) find that emotional satisfaction is a better predictor of loyalty than cognitive satisfaction. Despite these early results, very few measures of emotional response to the service experience occur.
Consumers expect more
“The Ask Afrika Orange Index leader board has undergone a transformation over the decade with less than today’s top ten brands leading the industry in customer service excellence. Consumer expectations, in terms of both the public and private sectors, continue to evolve. These are the companies that keep the pulse of changing consumer expectations that meet or exceed service expectations, ”says Sarina de Beer, CEO of Ask Afrika.
Excellence is achieved by consistently exceeding customer expectations, instead of focusing on service within a specified or limited time frame. Businesses recognize the challenge of delighting customers, and Ask Afrika Orange Index winners often recognize it.
The Ask Afrika Orange Index measures not only service within industries, but also across industries, and it identifies changes in the landscape to provide information on mass consumption trends, informing service improvement strategies. . Comprehensive research reports can be purchased, providing specific information on a company’s performance, contextualizing it within the context of the industry and the general landscape of service delivery, both locally and globally.
For more information, visit www.askafrika.co.za.