5 lessons from the UK Customer Satisfaction Index

15th Oct 2015

The latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) from the Institute of Customer Service suggests that the relationship economy – where an organisation’s success depends on the quality of its relationships with customers – is finally entering a new phase. Covering 13 sectors and amassing more than 39,000 responses from 10,000 customers, the new index offers crucial insight into the latest state of play. Below are five key trends the report highlights. 

1. Satisfaction has stabilised

Following four years of increasing customer satisfaction, and a further two of decline, the latest results show satisfaction across the UK has finally stabilised. The UKCSI now stands at 76.2; 0.2 points higher than six months ago, but still 0.1 point lower than a year ago. This increase may be slow and steady, but it shows organisations are taking steps in the right direction. 

2. Complaint handling is a measure of success  

Complaint handing is often used by regulators as a measure of customer satisfaction, and was one of the key issues under consideration in the Government's recent Green Paper on the future of the BBC. The latest UKCSI suggests customers encounter a wide range of responses from employees when they report a problem, but one thing is clear: how well problems and complaints are dealt with remains a key differentiator between the highest and lowest performing organisations. 

3. Service can always be improved

The results show that we are experiencing a polarisation of individual performance. While the retail, automotive and public service sectors have traditionally performed well in the UKCSI, the latest index shows a downward shift in customer satisfaction within these industries. What’s more, industries that previously ranked at the lower end of the spectrum have improved – evidence that no sector is disadvantaged when it comes to achieving high levels of customer satisfaction.  

4. Trust needs to be earned

In an environment where customer expectations have risen and there has been a decline of trust in some sectors, the UKCSI shows that we need to work harder than ever to earn customers’ loyalty. Nissan showed a desire to go the extra mile when it unveiled a five point European Service Customer Promise earlier this month. Anticipated as one of the automotive industry’s broadest-reaching customer service transformation programmes, it could set the bar for future initiatives. 

5. Happy customers drive business 

The index shows a clear correlation between content customers and enhanced business performance. Customers who give an organisation a nine or ten out of ten rating for customer satisfaction are much more likely to trust, recommend and stay with them, compared with organisations who receive a rating of eight out of ten or lower. Clearly, the more we please our customers, the more likely we are to retain them and build brand loyalty.

Share this