Launched in 2011 by Smoke Customer Care Solutions, the South African Service Awards are customer driven. In 2011 there were six major categories (Banking, Insurance, Security, IT & Telecommunications, Retail Consumables and Car Hire) and during the 2011 awards voting period, 10 569 consumers registered to rate South African companies.
Over 100 000 votes were received, making the South African Service Awards the largest consumer driven customer satisfaction awards in Africa. This year the service awards are set to be even bigger, with more companies competing for customer votes, and 20 categories to choose from.
How the awards work
Anyone can log onto the South African Service Awards website and register to rate companies. Ratings are done via a standard rating form (ensuring consistency), and because the votes work on a ratio of customers vs ratings, smaller businesses can compete against larger corporates on an equal footing.
Companies entered into the competition get more than the prestige of a win at the end of the voting cycle. The businesses entered into the competition receive feedback each time a customer rates them. Each result is sent to the company and the survey average is added to the company’s overall score.
This means companies have the ability to contact the customer if they wish, and they get a holistic picture of how their clients feel about their service. Individual results are also never made public – they are only for the eyes of the company receiving the rating only. The companies are also not listed according to ratings. The top two businesses appear on the leader board, while the rest are simply listed.
Giving consumers a voice
According to Andrew Cook, CEO of Smoke Customer Care Solutions and creator of the South African Service Awards, the creation of the South African Service Awards was the result of the fact that there were no customer-driven service awards inSouth Africa.
“All other service awards are assessed via a small panel of judges objectively deciding which company in a certain sector delivered the best customer service,” he says. “The big thing missing here is the customer. Nobody ever asked them what they thought.”
Cook believes that South Africa needed a platform where good service was rewarded. “There’s so much bad publicity around customer service, Smoke Customer Care Solutions decided that we needed a way to recognise the companies that put the effort into making a difference with regards to customer service.”
The awards ceremony combined with the launch of the 2012 South African Service Awards took place at The Old Elephant House inside the Johannesburg Zoo on 4 May 2012.
The 2011 South African Service Awards winners are:
Travel and Related Services – Car Hire
- 1st Place: Avis
- 2nd Place: First Car Rental
Financial Services – Banking
- 1st Place: Absa
Financial Services – Insurance
- 1st Place: Indwe Risk Services
Retail – Consumables
- 1st Place: Woolworths
Retail – Security
- 1st Place: ADT
IT & Telecommunications – Services
- 1st Place: Dial a Nerd
Entries to the 2012 South African Service Awards opened on 1 May 2012 and will remain open until 31 August 2012. Voting will begin on 1 September 2012 and close on 30 November 2012.
More information about the winners of the 2011 South African Service Awards and how to register for the 2012 South African Service Awards can be found on www.saservice.co.za or call +27 (0)11 462 9881.