Industry Updates

Benchmarking call centres to improve service delivery

20 Mar 2015

Call centres are an important customer contact point in service delivery, and in certain industries they can make or break a company’s reputation. The company’s service delivery may be excellent, but if a customer has a problem and is frustrated by their interaction with the call centre, this negative emotional experience can colour their perception of the brand.

In order to assist companies to rate and improve their call centres Ask Afrika introduced a dedicated call centre benchmark in 2014 into their Orange Index® national service delivery survey. Six industries and 18 companies were included in the call centre benchmark with a sample of almost 5000 respondents. The results of the survey were audited by BDO and sampling expert Dr Neethling.

Ask Afrika can provide detailed reports of how consumers rate the company’s call centre, they can compare this to an industry and a cross industry standard, and give recommendations of how performance can be improved. This will be contextualised within the broader context of service delivery as measured by the Ask Afrika Orange Index® providing customer service trends, insights, and thought leadership based on 13 years of data, now across 32 industries and 155 companies, with representative companies as well as the government sector.

Telecommunication companies are South Africa’s best call centre communicators, banks, and internet service providers are also up there in the top ten of the Ask Afrika Orange Index® Call Centre benchmark. Even though these companies took the lead, customers were not altogether satisfied with the service they received from call centres overall and companies need to up their game and train the 225 000 people employed in the call centre industry in SA. It is vital that the 175 000 employees in the 2000 call centres across SA who are directly in contact with consumers, are in touch with the latest in service delivery trends and how they can excel in their role.

The Ask Afrika Orange Index® revealed that call centre agents, who are in the front line of the customer service industry, need to be trained to deal with customers on an individual level, expressing humanness, and a genuine desire to problem solve, rather than just repeating their scripts ‘parrot fashion’.  Consumers require connection and engagement to be satisfied with service encounters, over and above transactional proficiency. Great service is not sufficient for loyalty and commitment, strong emotional satisfaction is imperative.

“The best call centre agents are empathetic to consumers, who are often already in an agitated state, hence the need to contact the call centre in the first place. Emotions are drivers of decisions, and have a huge impact on consumer perceptions of brands. Company heads and directors would be well advised to become cognisant of just how big an impact their call centres can have on their brand’s reputation,” says Sarina de Beer, MD of Ask Afrika.

MTN Mobile was the overall winner of the Ask Afrika Orange Index® Call Centre Benchmark, followed by another Telecommunication company, Vodacom Mobile in second place, with Capitec in third, keeping up the reputation of Financial Institutions. Telkom Mobile was fourth, and after that the Internet Service Providers got a showing with MTN Internet in fifth place. Cell C Mobile was sixth, Vodacom Internet seventh, Standard Bank was eighth, Cell C Internet ninth, and FNB tenth.

The Ask Afrika Orange Index® not only measures service within industries, but across industries, and it identifies landscape changes to provide insights into the mass consumer trends, informing service improvement strategies. Full research reports can be purchased from Ask Afrika, providing specific insights into a company’s performance, contextualising this into the industry context, and into the general service delivery landscape, both locally and globally.

To order a full Ask Afrika Orange Index® research report call: 012 428 7400,

About the Ask Afrika Group:
Over a period of almost two decades, Ask Afrika Group has grown to be the largest independent South African market research company. The company focuses on local relevance, benchmarked against the global context. Ask Afrika is a member of WIN/Gallup International and ESOMAR. Apart from its large South African footprint, Ask Afrika Group also operates in a dozen African continental territories.

Ask Afrika Group is well known for delivering strategic and large scale field projects and for creating benchmarks for industry. With regards to service excellence Ask Afrika Group is the preferred research partner across industries to co-craft customer service strategies through meaningful research methodologies across the value chain and customer service touch points.

TGI research, for which Ask Afrika Group  owns the South African copyright, has an annual single source sample of 15 000 locally and 800 000 globally. It has a global geographic coverage of 70 markets, and measures services, products, media, and brands. Ask Afrika’s knowledge of brands is extensive and as owner of the local TGI license, it is the leader in brand expertise in South Africa. TGI can provide a commercial alternative to industry media measurements. It is the perfect vehicle for brand positioning. 

The Ask Afrika Groups’ exclusive product suite includes the Ask Afrika Orange Index®, the Trust Barometer™, Radio Moods™, TGI (Target Group Index), Ask Afrika ICON Brands™ and TGI Township, the Digital Barometer, the Lite Data Collection, the Behavioural Sciences Package and Gateway. Ask Afrika is proud of its exceptional service delivery, with offices based in Pretoria and Stellenbosch. For more information please visit the website:

Issued on behalf of Ask Afrika by Stone Soup Public Relations
For further information, please contact Daya Coetzee, (011) 447 7241