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Sharesies Stays Top Of Kantar Customer Leadership Index

For the second consecutive year, Sharesies has topped the annual Kantar Customer Leadership Index, New Zealand’s leading ranking of the best brands for customer experience, released today by data, insights and consulting company Kantar.

Jonathan Pickup

AA Insurance and Mitsubishi Motors came in second and third, with AA and 2degrees rounding out the top five.

To create the index, Kantar surveyed 2,500 New Zealanders about their opinions of more than 60 of New Zealand’s top brands in financial services, online shopping, retail and grocery, media and entertainment, travel, telecommunications, energy and car repair.

This is the fourth year the Kantar Customer Leadership Index has been calculated. It covers all aspects of the customer experience including service delivery, customer centricity, brand clarity and offer excellence.

Despite the challenging climate for investment providers, Sharesies strengthened its lead at the top of the index, achieving a top five position on 18 of the 22 measured aspects of customer experience. Its digital platform is particularly well regarded, making it easy for customers to set up an account and to make and monitor their investments.

Kantar New Zealand’s Head of Customer Experience Jonathan Pickup thinks Sharesies’ 2022 result bears testament to the importance of delivering great, consistent customer service.

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“If anything, Sharesies’ 2022 result is even more impressive than its performance in 2021, since it comes at a time when the investment markets have been less buoyant and where the rising cost of living is leading to a shift in what consumers expect from brands. Sharesies has really focused on making the complex seem simple and has delivered that in a clear, consistent brand voice. As a result, consumers think Sharesies is clearly different to other companies operating in the same space.”

Being seen to offer consumers value for money is becoming increasingly important

Following on from a period of Covid-19 related lockdowns, 2022 has been characterised by a different challenge, as consumer spending power continues to be impacted by the rising cost of goods and services. New Zealanders are clearly feeling the impact of these challenges, and Kantar’s Customer Leadership Index research indicates that this is starting to impact on what consumers look for from brands.

Unsurprisingly, the research is showing a rise in the relative importance of price and cost on views of customer leadership overall. However, this does not necessarily mean brands with a focus on low price alone are climbing the rankings.

Mr Pickup says, “What stands this year’s top 10 brands apart from the rest is that they are increasingly seen to be providing good value. This means they are providing products or services seen as being worth the price that consumers are paying for them. This isn’t just about keeping prices low, which isn’t driving performance on its own. Most of our top 10 brands also rank within the top 15 on value, even if they aren’t necessarily always the cheapest options available. It tells us a brand with a strong value proposition, especially one backed up with consistent service, can still thrive, even in a challenging economic environment like the one we’re currently experiencing.”

As in 2021, insurance brands continue to perform strongly. AA Insurance, which topped the Index in 2020, rises back into the top two, while State rises from 31st to 6th.

“The insurance sector is a good example of a set of brands which has worked effectively to demonstrate value through the service they provide,” says Mr Pickup. “This year we’ve seen improvements in the sector on flexibility, personalisation and consistency, and that has laddered up to strengthening perceptions of value.”

Even in a challenging environment, organisations which live up to their brand promise can succeed

The latest Kantar Customer Leadership Index results reflect the current challenging environment for consumer-facing brands. Overall, most sectors have seen their average scores drop slightly from the levels recorded this time last year.

However, the utilities, telecoms and insurance categories are exceptions to this trend. For the utilities and telecoms brands, this reflects a steady improvement on product and service excellence and a clear uplift this year on delivering a service that is focused on customer needs. Meridian Energy recorded the biggest jump in this year’s ranking (up 39 places to 13th) and now leads the way on supporting worthwhile causes.

“We have seen in other studies that a brand’s sustainable credentials are becoming more important to consumers over time,” says Mr Pickup. “Meridian is clearly being recognised for its work in this area, but we have also seen increasing scores for digital service and issue resolution working in tandem with its clear positioning to propel it up the rankings.”

The groceries sector has been one of the hardest hit this year, but it is interesting to see the online meal kit provider My Food Bag has managed to strengthen its position. My Food Bag sits in 12th position on Kantar’s index – its customer love team is delivering a strong performance on service speed, being easy to contact and offering consistent service. This is helping the brand to deliver delightful and memorable experiences that are clearly valued, even within the context of rising prices.

The top 10 ranked brands

AA Insurance70
Mitsubishi Motors69
State Insurance68
Noel Leeming67
Mighty Ape64

About Kantar

Kantar is the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company and is home to some of the world's leading expertise in these areas. Collectively, our 28,000 employees offer the most complete view of consumers – the way they think, feel, shop, share, vote and view – in over a hundred countries worldwide.

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