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Social media changing customer expectations - SAcsi

Aug 31 2016 18:39
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – The growing popularity of social media and online access to information and news is influencing customers’ expectations of food services, the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for restaurants revealed.

The index was compiled by independent research company Consulta. Under 1500 “randomly selected” customers of four local franchise restaurants were surveyed telephonically and via online. The local franchises, which include Ocean Basket, Wimpy, Mugg & Bean and Spur, where chosen because they have the biggest market share, said Professor Adre Schreuder, CEO of Consulta.

“People are more connected through social media. Brands need to leverage off the use of authentic reviews by customers,” explained Schreuder. In the US and Europe, reviews by consumers are very influential on expectations. “They are leading and we can learn from that,” he added.

Instead of using traditional marketing methods, and relying on brands to promote themselves on social media, they should rather rely on “consumer speak” he said.

Restaurants have higher standards to meet because consumers are more knowledgeable about food through shows like MasterChef, popular cooking and food blogs and social media. “There is a greater interest in food and the social component of food,” said Schreuder.

Satisfying customers

Customer satisfaction was determined by combining measures of customer expectations, the perceived quality of service and the product and how that relates to customer expectation, as well as the perceived value for money, explained Schreuder.

Overall the SAcsi showed that Ocean Basket’s customers are the most satisfied scoring 78.6 in the rankings. It overtook Wimpy which was in the lead last year. Wimpy managed to score 77.8. “Wimpy firmly owns the breakfast market. The other guys can’t compete with that,” said Schreuder.

Both restaurants are on par with the industry average of 77.6 to 100. What sets them apart is their innovative offerings. Besides specials and discounts, what sets Ocean Basket apart is the variety of its food offerings, explained Schreuder.

Spur received a score of 77.0 and Mugg & Bean scored 75.7, both were below the industry average. Ocean Basket scored 36.7% on the Net Promoter Score, which measures the likelihood to recommend a brand to family and friends. This was followed by Spur, which scored 31.7%.

Restaurants that score well on the index offer “excellent” value for money, top quality food, quick service and a “great overall experience”, said Schreuder.

The index also showed that more South African consumers are choosing restaurants that offer meals made from locally sourced ingredients. They are also concerned about the nutritional data of the food, to meet their “specialised eating regimes”.

The results of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for restaurants shows the overall satisfaction of American consumers to be 81. This is 3.4 higher than the South African average, stated Consulta.

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