Although SA customers of fuel service stations are less satisfied than the last time the industry was rated in 2013, they gave the industry a high satisfaction score of 78.6 out of 100, according to the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) released today.
SAcsi is a national economic indicator of customer satisfaction in the quality of products and services available to household consumers in South Africa. The index surveyed 2301 customers of Sasol, Caltex, Shell, Total, Engen, and BP during the last two months.
Sasol emerged as industry leader at 80.9 out of 100, with its customers naming it as the ideal petrol station. Shell (79.8), Total (78.7), Engen (78.2), Caltex (77.9) and BP (77.4) were all statistically on par with the industry average.
Prof. Adré Schreuder, founder of SAcsi and CEO of Consulta, says that the decline is not significant since the last measure, particularly when one takes into account that the 2013 industry scored the highest customer satisfaction score at the time.
“Perceptions play an integral role in customer satisfaction. “It is interesting to see that although there is no significant price differentiation between the various brands in terms of the fuel price, customers perceive the value that they receive from the various service stations differently,” he says. “This means that perceived value at fuel service stations is influenced by elements other than the price of fuel,” he says.
Customers have higher expectations of Sasol and Shell, which Prof. Schreuder says could be due to the established reputations of the brands. Sasol and Shell again scored highest in terms of perceived quality at 83.3 and 83.2 respectively. Perceived value is slightly higher in 2015 at 77.4 out of 100 (2013: 77.2).
The number of complaints in the industry has risen 1.4% overall. While Sasol has the lowest number of complaints (6%), it is the market leader when it comes to complaint handling (70.8 out of 100 complaints are satisfactorily resolved). Complaints tended to centre on service issue, the quality of petrol and product availability.
“Fuel station brands that would like to increase their scores should consider a special focus on improving service levels. This industry has high loyalty scores of 77.9% overall, so it would be a worthwhile to keep pursuing customer satisfaction,” says Prof. Schreuder.
The Net Promoter Score is a measure of the likelihood of customers to recommend a particular brand. The NPS for the industry was 42.3%, with Sasol well above the average at 51.8% and Shell following closely at 48.3%. All the other brands’ NPS scores were below the industry average.
About the research methodology
Customer satisfaction is measured using a complex model that has been rigorously evaluated, in line with the American Customer Satisfaction Index methodology.
“The fact that companies are choosing to subscribe to SAcsi to receive statistically sound information speaks volumes about the credibility of the index. This is not research that is commissioned for marketing purposes, it is used as the basis for strategic management decisions,” says Prof. Schreuder.
The model combines three drivers of customer satisfaction: customer expectations, perceived quality and perceived value. The calculated customer satisfaction index is statistically linked to two outcomes: customer complaints and customer loyalty. The industry model can predict the outcome of changes in customer loyalty with a great degree of accuracy.
The SAcsi index gives companies detailed information to assist them in improving customer satisfaction. Each month, customer satisfaction results are released for specific industries.