10 things we learnt from the latest Customer Satisfaction Index

13th Jul 2017

Today marks the launch of the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI).

Published twice each year by The Institute of Customer Service, the UKCSI highlights key drivers for customer satisfaction in the UK and measures organisations across 13 industry sectors.

Standards being raised across all industries

The report reveals that the overall level of customer satisfaction in the UK is  78.2 (out of 100).  This represents a rise of 0.8 points compared to July 2016 and means that, along with January 2013, customer satisfaction is at its  highest point ever. 

Good service climbing customer priorities list

The UKCSI report reveals that, despite price uncertainty in the wake of the Brexit vote, there is a growing trend for customers to place more emphasis on service over price.  More than one in four (28%) favour excellent service, even if it means paying more, compared to just 15% who always want the cheapest deal.

Amazon still top of the table

Amazon takes the number one position for the fourth consecutive time and is followed by high-performing organisations from across the tourism, leisure, banking and transport sectors.

Some businesses are still too transactional

Jo Causon, chief executive at The Institute of Customer Service, says: “Many organisations have woken up to the need to respond to more savvy, confident customers, who are clear about what they want and what they will pay for.  However, in many cases relationships are too transactional and organisations are failing to create the sort of relationship that leads to loyalty, advocacy and sustained business growth.  Business leaders need to reflect on the fact that customer priorities are changing; failure to do so increases the risk that organisations will sleep-walk into a situation where the investment they make in customer service no longer delivers the sort of return that is necessary for long-term business success.”

Utilities on the up

Eight of the 20 most improved organisations are utilities companies (six are water suppliers and two provide energy), but the biggest improvement comes from an organisation in the transport sector – with rail operator London Midland scoring 80.3 (out of 100), a rise of 9.1 points since July 2016.

Best-scoring banks reaping rewards…

The banks that have scored highest on the index are also gaining business. Customer favourites Nationwide, TSB, Santander, Halifax and Nat West have gained 20,000 customers, while the lowest scoring banks have lost 9,000 accounts.

…but the industry still faces challenges

Institute analysis finds that banks fail to match customer priorities in 23 out of 27 areas measured by the UKCSI.  ‘Ease of getting through’ is ranked as highly important (with a score of 8.5 out of 10), but customers’ actual experience is only 7.8.  They also value ‘on time delivery’ (scoring 8.3 out of 10 for importance), but suggest the reality is different from expectation with a score of 7.8.

Aldi going all the way

Aldi is now the highest performing supermarket for customer satisfaction, overtaking M&S and Waitrose, whilst also making the largest gains in sales and market share.

Appetite for top customer service in food retail clear

Institute analysis finds that food retailers with satisfied customers saw a sales growth of 10.7%, compared to only 1.8% for those with satisfaction falling below average. Customer service is therefore a driving force behind those who reaped the benefits of this sector growth – and those who fell behind.

Tailored approach

“For customer satisfaction to continue on this upward trajectory, organisations need to focus on the way they deliver a quality customer experience, the way they tailor what they do to individual customer preferences and the way they analyse problems to eliminate them at source,” says Causon. “At this pivotal moment, now is the time for organisations to be brave and drive the customer experience agenda harder, and in a more sustained manner, in order to ensure long-term survival.”

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