Customers increasingly unhappy with SA networks

2015-06-08 13:59 - Duncan Alfreds
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Mobile service providers deliver average customer satisfaction in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Cape Town - Local mobile network Vodacom has again edged out rivals in terms of mobile customer satisfaction while Cell C is South Africa's most improved service provider. But overall customer satisfaction levels in the industry are falling.

This is according to the SA Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi), which benchmarks customer satisfaction levels of various products and services sold to household consumers in South Africa.

SAcsi's latest mobile network index has found that Cell C - which is South Africa's third largest mobile network with about 20 million subscribers - has increased its customer satisfaction index to 72.9 out of 100.

Local industry leader Vodacom experienced a decline to 76.7 while MTN managed 75.6. Finally, Telkom Mobile scored the lowest rating of 69.4.

The industry overall scored of 75.4 out of 100 this year which is lower than last year's score of 76.7.

But while the index continues a downward trend, this does not mean that local customers are entirely dissatisfied yet.

"This is one of the only industries we have measured in which all service providers surveyed are meeting the expectations of their customers on issues of overall quality, meeting individual needs and things not going wrong with the provider," said Professor Adré Schreuder, SAcsi founder and CEO of Consulta.

The survey consulted a random sample of 2 195 mobile phone subscribers and found that Cell C's increase was down to reducing customer problems by 8%.

"In contrast, Cell C showed a significant improvement in the perceived quality of its offering, although the brand still lags behind in the overall industry score. MTN and Vodacom showed no change from the previous results," Schreuder said of the comparison between Cell C and the major players.

Cell C has decreased customer billing complaints. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

The survey also found that 20% of complaints in the industry centre on billing issues. And despite the fact that Cell C is associated with value, the study indicates that Vodacom is holding on to its status as the strongest mobile brand in SA.

"Cell C is regarded as the industry leader when it comes to perceived value, with Vodacom regarded as the most expensive, although customers indicate that Vodacom offers the best quality product. This clearly signals a preference for quality at a fair price, rather than a having to accept poor quality at a low price," said Schreuder.

Overall, SA's industry average score of 75.4 compares well with international trends. Operators in Portugal score 75, Turkey and the UK 74, South Korea 73 and the US 72.

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