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Many UK companies are failing to keep up with the rapidly changing customer environment according to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) released by the Institute of Customer Service. Overall satisfaction has fallen in all four surveys since January 2013  and is now lower than at any point since January 2010 – only the utilities and banking sectors have improved during 2014.

 

The January UKCSI is based upon the feedback from nearly 40,000 customer experiences across 13 different sectors of the UK economy. More than 200 organisations appear in the index, which is commissioned by the Institute of Customer Service. It is the largest and most comprehensive measure of customer satisfaction of its kind, tracking customer satisfaction across 13 sectors since 2008.

 

Top of the index are retailers John Lewis and Amazon. This year a group of organisations, including Northern Ireland Electricity, Santander, Nationwide, Royal Mail and 3, were also highlighted for gaining the largest improvement in customer satisfaction scores over the past five years, demonstrating there are examples from every sector that are delivering improvements in customer satisfaction.

 

There are signs of improved focus on customer satisfaction in the Utilities sector. Southern Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities registered the largest improvement in satisfaction score over the past year and four of the big six returned higher scores, however there is still lots of potential for this sector to improve as many utilities companies saw their satisfaction scores continue to fall and the sector remains the lowest scoring sector included in UKCSI.

Jo Causon, Institute of Customer Service CEO, comments:

 

“Many organisations are struggling to keep pace with a business environment that has undergone rapid change in recent months . Some brands are improving customer satisfaction by operating in an agile and innovative way, but overall it is clear that a new approach is required for this new environment. Businesses need to take a look at the experience they are delivering to customers and identify how it can be improved.”

 

“The UK is shifting from a transactional economy to a relationship economy, customers expect a dialogue with organisations rather than monologue, and they are using a mixture of new and existing channels to engage. They demand transparency, are increasingly service savvy and focus on ethics and sustainability. The UKCSI results show there is huge potential for companies to drive growth and brand loyalty by improving customer service. With so much information at our fingertips, business leaders need to start measuring the success and impact of customer service.”

 

Again the research demonstrates that customer service has a direct impact on the bottom line. The dramatic changes in the retail food sector in recent months has been reflected in the index, with companies such as Lidl, Waitrose and Aldi that have improved customer satisfaction scores, experiencing growth in sales and market share.

 

Customer s  feel that ‘speed and responsiveness’, ‘complaints handling’ and ‘staff behaviour’ have deteriorated most in the last two years and only two of the 28 metrics measured in the UKCSI showed improvements since January 2013 – ‘outcome of the complaint’ and ‘on-time delivery’.

 

Age, socioeconomic group and region are also having an increasing impact on customer satisfaction. Younger people are on average less satisfied than their older counterparts and are more likely to recommend and use social media when they have a complaint. Customers from Wales are the most satisfied, followed by the North of England and Scotland, while people in the South East of England are least satisfied.

 

Key points again are:

 

·         Customer Satisfaction has dropped to its lowest level since 2010

·         John Lewis and Amazon come out on top for delivering high levels of customer satisfaction in 2015

·         Analysis of 39,000 individual customer experiences reveals true state of customer satisfaction in the UK

·         Four of the big six energy providers improve on track record as some sectors fare better than others in the report from the Institute of Customer Service

 

Jan 2015 rank

 

Jan 2015 score

Jan 2014 score

Jan 2014 rank

Change in score Jan 2014 – Jan 2015

1

John Lewis

87.2

88.1

2

-0.9

2=

Amazon

86.7

88.6

1

-1.9

2=

First Direct

86.7

86.6

4

+0.1

4

Ocado

85.4

no data

 

 

5

Marks & Spencer (Food)

83.9

85.8

7

-1.9

6

Nationwide

83.8

83.0

27

+0.8

7=

LV=

83.5

82.8

33

+0.7

7=

Waitrose

83.5

86.9

3

-3.4

9

Argos

83.3

83.3

19

0

10

Aldi

83.0

85.5

8

-2.5

11=

Center Parcs

82.9

83.0

27

-0.1

11=

Skoda

82.9

83.6

14

-0.7

13

Thomson Airways

82.8

80.1

65

+2.7

14=

Greggs

82.5

84.2

10

-1.7

14=

Tesco Mobile

82.5

82.0

43

+0.5

16

Next

82.4

83.5

15

-1.1

17

Iceland

82.3

83.5

15

-1.2

18

Jet2

82.0

no data

 

 

19=

Matalan

81.9

78.0

96

+3.9

19=

Specsavers

81.9

no data

 

 

21=

Marks & Spencer

81.8

83.2

21

-1.4

21=

Superdrug

81.8

83.2

21

-1.4

23=

BMW/Mini

81.4

81.9

45

-0.5

23=

booking.com

81.4

no data

 

 

25

Premier Inn

81.3

83.2

21

-1.9

26

Audi

81.1

81.6

48

-0.5

27

Boots

80.8

84.0

12

-3.2

27

Hyundai

80.8

82.7

35

-1.9

29

Kia

80.6

83.3

19

-2.7

30

Tesco Bank

80.5

83.0

27

-2.5

31=

Expedia

80.4

78.0

96

+2.4

31=

Mercedes Benz

80.4

83.4

18

-3.0

31=

Toby Carvery

80.4

84.0

12

-3.6

34=

Asda

80.3

80.6

60

-0.3

34=

LoveFilm

80.3

78.4

91

+1.9

34=

Virgin Atlantic

80.3

82.4

36

-2.1

34=

Virgin Holidays

80.3

81.3

53

-1.0

38=

Autoglass

80.2

82.8

33

-2.6

38=

Sainsbury’s

80.2

81.7

47

-1.5

38=

The Co-operative Bank

80.2

86.4

5

-6.2

41

Mazda

80.1

77.9

100

+2.2

42=

Debenhams

80.0

80.9

57

-0.9

42=

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

80.0

80.5

61

-0.5

42=

Land Rover

80.0

81.5

49

-1.5

42=

Lidl

80.0

78.7

87

+1.3

42=

Wilkinson

80.0

82.1

39

-2.1

47

SAGA

79.9

83.5

15

-3.6

48

Pizza Express

79.8

80.8

58

-1.0

49=

Marriott

79.7

84.1

11

-4.4

49=

Toyota

79.7

81.5

49

-1.8

 

 

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