Interesting new features which were unknown to cellphone clients previously drives customer satisfaction. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH
Interesting new features which were unknown to cellphone clients previously drives customer satisfaction. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH

In handsets, customer satisfaction is driven by the discovery of new features that clients have not been aware of previously, says Prof Adré Schreuder, CEO at Consulta, the company responsible for the latest SA Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for mobile handsets.

The big take-out: The top three brands in this year’s SAcsi Index for mobile handsets were Apple iPhone and Samsung in the lead, and new market entrant Hauwei close on their heels with a value-for-money offering packed with new features that will drive customer satisfaction.

"In the handset industry marketing campaigns set very high expectations, with the result that consumers expect to find value for their money," reports Schreuder. While he agrees that brands should indeed be setting high expectations, they also need to ensure they are exceeding them – even if only marginally – if they want consumers to be satisfied. Consumers want to feel they’re getting more than they paid for in order to have confidence in their purchase decisions. If the "post-purchase" feeling doesn’t add up to the expectations set by the brand, customer satisfaction will decrease.

According to the study, when it comes to mobile handsets Apple iPhone consumers in SA are the most satisfied, despite the brand’s high prices. Apple is followed by Samsung and Huawei. Apple and Samsung are no strangers to this index and have maintained their dominance over other handsets for several years. Huawei, however, has grown its market share significantly in the past year, in the process impressing consumers with its value for money and features. The brand, reports Schreuder, is positioning itself as a pioneer in artificial intelligence.

While Apple iPhone dominated the survey, lower-cost brands such as Huawei are resonating with the value segment of the market, providing them with good value for the price they pay for the handset. Handset manufacturers, points out Schreuder, face constant pressure to offer customers more value for less cost.

"Just because Huawei is priced below the larger brands does not mean it should be dismissed in terms of quality," says Schreuder, adding that the brand’s quality and features have improved over time, even though Huawei entered the market only in 2016.

The introduction of newer models has allowed the Hauwei brand to make waves in the market in the past year. The challenge for established brands such as Apple and Samsung, points out Schreuder, is that they can improve only marginally on their previous models. "Huawei is the only brand that has experienced increased loyalty in the industry, and it is creating a name for itself as a 'go-to' brand for high-quality phones with great features that offer value for money. This is particularly relevant in a climate where consumers want to pay less for a handset but still enjoy the features offered by the more expensive models," he says.

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