South Africans believe that their assets are in safe hands when a bank is involved.

This is according to research commissioned by Verint Systems, which conducted parallel research in nine countries among more than 18 000 respondents, to determine what keeps customers walking through the doors of establishments in a variety of economic sectors.

The research was carried out by Opinium on behalf of Verint with support from analyst and consultancy firm, Ovum. The results highlight the importance of quick, easy and personalised service in securing consumers’ loyalty. It also uncovered deep divisions over attitudes to how personal data is used to deliver this service.

When asked to pick the service provider who South African adults felt was honest and transparent in their dealings with them, banks (34%) were the most popular choice, followed by insurance companies (18%).

A whopping 77% of local consumers had been with their banks for more than three years, ahead of clothing and grocery stores at 76% and insurance companies at 48%. Banks in South Africa were also, by far, the most trusted to keep data safe (50%). This is higher than seven of the countries researched, with only New Zealand (57%) scoring higher than South Africa.

When asked about delivering good customer service in South Africa, banks also came out on top with 29% (the international average is 34%), followed by supermarkets/grocery storesclothes shops (19%) then insurance and mobile phone companies (both 13%).

Customer service and price were particularly important for banks. When asked about their interaction with banks, consumers indicated that they were more likely to switch service providers if staff were impolite, rude or uninterested (23%) than if they found a cheaper alternative (19%).