In the latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for supermarkets, conducted by Consulta, Woolworths came out tops. The index revealed that regardless of a tough economic climate, customers remain highly satisfied with the supermarkets they visit, despite a decline in loyalty compared to 2015.
“With a substantially higher score than the industry average of 76.2, Woolworths has the most satisfied customers with a score of 82.1 on the index and is the only supermarket with a marked increase compared to its 2015 average of 80.7. Checkers, with a score of 77.2, and Pick n Pay at 76.5 both remained above average while Shoprite and Spar trailed with scores of 75.5 and 75.2 respectively,” stated SAcsi.
The 2016 SAcsi for supermarkets benchmarks customer satisfaction using an internationally recognised model. This model further allows for an unbiased view of the South African supermarket industry, added SAcsi. This, “by blending a Customer Expectations Index, Perceived Quality Index and a Perceived Value Index to achieve an overall result out of 100.”
While customers appear to be generally happy and overall customer satisfaction is reasonably high, the customer loyalty scores for 2016 have declined compared to 2015 across all supermarket brands analysed.
“Overall customer loyalty decreased from 76.4 in 2015 to 74.2 in 2016, yet Woolworths held steady with the most loyal customers and a score of 77.3 followed by Shoprite (74.9), Pick n Pay (74.6), Spar (73.5) and then Checkers (72.5),” SAcsi added.
During tough economic times, the prices of goods is highly likely to influence consumers’ loyalty. “But price-motivated ‘loyalty’ is not permanent so while customers may display less brand loyalty now, supermarkets cannot afford to stop investing in positive shopping experiences,” remarked CEO of Consulta, Professor André Schreuder.
According to the results, it appears customers believe that they receive great value from Woolworths, as is seen in their quality score of 87 and perceived value score of 80.6, compared to the industry average of 80.3 on perceived quality and 76.5 on the perceived value, SAcsi added.
“Woolworths has succeeded in providing high quality products, convenience and fast service while growing its footprint rapidly, including a growing presence in petrol station forecourts,” Schreuder said.
At the end of the day, a shopping experience is categorised by many factors and supermarkets need to demonstrate their ability to meet their ever-changing customer needs, consistently and reliably, Schreuder concluded.