The Orange Index Awards, run by market research firm Ask Africa since 2001, measure consumer satisfaction across 31 industries, including automotive. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Orange Index Awards, run by market research firm Ask Africa since 2001, measure consumer satisfaction across 31 industries, including automotive. Picture: SUPPLIED

Audi was named the top car brand for consumer-satisfaction brand in the automotive category of the 2021 Ask Afrika Orange Index Awards, beating fellow German brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz into second and third place, respectively. Toyota was ranked fourth.

The awards, run by market research firm Ask Africa since 2001, measure consumer satisfaction across 31 industries. This year’s index measured 200 brands and interviewed 19,986 South Africans between May and July to establish which companies provide the best customer experience.

“We are glad that our customer service efforts have been acknowledged despite the challenges over the past year. This is a win worth celebrating,” said Hassan Salie, head of aftersales and dealer network development at Audi SA.

Ask Afrika says trust was the top issue for customer loyalty in SA, followed by reputation and relationship. On the flipside, the biggest detractors from customer loyalty are a lack of value for money, delays in the resolution of problems and queries, and difficulty in contacting customer care.

“While customer experience ratings, along with brand loyalty ratings, continue to decline, this is an indicator of a new customer who is easily irritated by external communication,” said Ask Afrika CEO Andrea Rademeyer. “However, it could also be linked to customers feeling over-stimulated with information.”

Audi was highest ranked of the eight automotive brands listed in the 2021 Ask Afrika Orange Index. Picture: SUPPLIED
Audi was highest ranked of the eight automotive brands listed in the 2021 Ask Afrika Orange Index. Picture: SUPPLIED

The pandemic-induced lockdown has given businesses no choice but to improve their digital communications, and the 2021 results showed that the overall experience when engaging with apps and websites is better than when customers engaged with people at call centres or in-store, Rademeyer said.

Another observation from the past two decades has been the shift in customer’s comfort with digitalisation, Rademeyer added. “Twenty years ago, many customer segments were very uncomfortable with call centres. There has been a major shift and digital channels now get preference over human interaction,” she said.

However, customers still prefer to engage with a person when they have a complaint.

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