Banking customers’ expectations higher than ever before – SAcsi 2017 Survey

By Janice Roberts

The latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for Banking, conducted by Consulta in Q4 2017, reveals that Capitec continues to lead with the most satisfied customers.

For the fifth consecutive year, Capitec customers remain the most satisfied with a score of 85.3 points – the only bank other than Standard Bank to increase their score – climbing 2.2 points from its 2015 score of 83.1 and holding firm 8.3 points above the overall industry average of 77.

Absa however experienced further decline in 2017 against its previous years’ scores, dropping from 74.2 in 2015 to 73.3 in 2017, resulting in it being placed last among the major banks included in the benchmark. The bottom position was previously held by Standard Bank, which made a recovery with a significant increase of 3.3 points from 71.9 in 2016 to 75.2 in 2017.

FNB and newly included African Bank ranked above the industry average at 81.0, followed by Nedbank at 76.3 points.

Now in its sixth year, the SAcsi for Banking offers impartial insights into the South African banking industry by measuring customers’ overall satisfaction, and for the first time, these insights are being used to guide an Industry lead Market Share Estimation Project. This satisfaction index is based on brands exceeding or falling short of customer expectations and the respondents’ idea of the ideal product to achieve an overall result out of 100. The Index also includes, among other measures, a Customer Expectations Index, a Perceived Quality Index and a Perceived Value Index. The 2017 sample included 13 099 bank customers across various segments who were randomly selected to participate in the survey.

“Absa, who managed to score higher than Standard Bank in 2016, fell behind in customer satisfaction in 2017 with scores significantly lower than the industry average in almost all satisfaction metrics. This is also reflected in its loss of almost 300 000 customers during the first six months of 2017, which as reported on, is driven by bank-initiated closures of dormant accounts in the entry-level segments.,” says Consulta CEO, Professor Adré Schreuder.

“Capitec, on the other hand, has continued to acquire market share from the ‘Big Four’ banks in recent years, reportedly having a 9.3 million customer base mid-2017, second only to Standard Bank. In fact, its lowest score in the last three years is still higher than this year’s industry average, and higher than any score achieved by the other banks in the survey.

“FNB has consistently maintained second position on the SAcsi, and remains a strong brand widely regarded as the most innovative and disruptive, even though its score declined slightly in 2017,” says Schreuder. “It is notable that the newly included African Bank enters at a similar position to FNB at 81. Standard Bank, on the other hand, has seen the greatest improvement in SAcsi score, leaping from 71.9 to 75.2.”

Standard Bank most certainly moved the hearts and minds of South Africans through its What’s your next? campaign in 2017. The campaign sought to reconnect with customers in a way that acknowledged their uniqueness as individuals, gearing themselves to offer products and services that are more Customer Centric.

“Standard Bank will need to focus on translating this powerful message into the day-to-day operations of the bank to ensure that the true value of this is realised amongst their customers,” Schreuder explains.

Capitec was the clear leader in the Perceived Quality Index, with a score of 87.1 (up from 85.7), outperforming the industry score of 80.9 (marginally up from 81.1). Standard Bank was the only other bank to improve on the Perceived Quality Index, increasing from 77.3 to 79.2. African Bank, which was measured in the SAcsi for the first time, achieved the second best perceived quality score of 85.7, followed by FNB‘s 83.9 points (down from 85.3). Absa saw a further decline to the lowest level in this measure, dropping 1.2 points to 78.2 (down from 79.4 points).

A popular metric for measuring a brand’s performance is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures the likelihood that customers will recommend a brand to their family and friends (promoters) compared to customers who would actively discourage a relationship with the brand (detractors).

Capitec achieved the highest NPS of 61.4%, which is 34.2 percentage points higher than the industry average of 27.2%. FNB had the next highest NPS of 43.1%, followed by African Bank on 38.5%. Standard Bank with an NPS of 20.8% and Nedbank with 26.1% were slightly below the industry NPS, while Absa lagged significantly on 11.5%.

“Despite recent negative news around Capitec’s loan practices, many of the bank’s transactional customers have affirmed their loyalty as it is able to deliver on high expectations in reality to customers’ perceived value,” says Schreuder. “It will be interesting to see how the current news cycle and segment of unhappy customers will impact overall satisfaction in future SAcsi for Banking surveys.”

The results also show an industry increase in complaints incidence over previous years from 21.2% to 22.3%, which is still the major Achilles heel for the South African banking industry if compared to a world-class benchmark of maximum 10% customer complaints.

The SAcsi for Banking also revealed that the majority of banking-related complaints were around debit order issues, transactions fees that customers were not aware of, as well as accessibility of services.

Globally, South Africa’s Banking Index places second of nine other nations in terms of overall customer satisfaction, beaten only by the USA which achieved an overall satisfaction score of 80.

The full SAcsi for Banking report and other SAcsi reports are available from Consulta.


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