Hats off to Santam and Standard Bank Insurance for making it into the top ten companies rated in the 2008 Ask Afrika Orange Index. Santam was the top rated short-term insurance company, coming 4th in the overall rating (up 14 places from last year), with Standard Bank Insurance coming in at 9th place. Old Mutual was the top-rated Long Term Insurance Company, placed 13th overall.
The 2008 index is a comprehensive benchmark of service excellence in 12 sectors and 70 companies in South Africa. Almost 16 000 consumers were interviewed this year, with a minimum of 250 being interviewed per brand.
Over the past couple of years South Africa has become a more service-orientated economy. This is partly because consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and have a wider variety of choices, which raises their service expectations. The recent credit crunch is another contributing factor as companies need to retain existing customers more than ever before, and to do this they need to provide a consistent high level of customer service.
Effective complaints handling and resolution is a crucial part of customer service. The getclosure! ratings based on consumer feedback amply demonstrate this, as companies which handle complaints professionally and promptly receive significantly higher ratings from their customers.
Santam and Standard Bank Insurance are clearly making a concerted effort to keep their customers happy, and it seems to be paying off.
We chatted to Margaret Massie, the Santam Executive Head: People and Brand and she said that "the Ask Afrika Index is pleasing, particularly as it follows recognition of Santam as Personal and Commercial Insurer of the year by the Financial Intermediaries Association, and second place in the Best Company to Work For survey, showing that motivated and happy staff are the best foundation for excellent customer service. Clearly Santam is moving in the right customer services direction. We look forward to maintaining this level of performance into 2009 and beyond, as the initiatives to make Santam truly client-centric are prioritised, spread through the business, and become even more measurable".