23rd Jan 2017
Amazon has once again topped The Institute of Customer Service's league table for customer satisfaction in the UK.
For the second year running, the retailer achieved the highest levels of customer satisfaction (87.3) nationwide, according to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI). In second place was new entrant ASOS (85.8), which reflect the strong performance of online retailers in the index.
The UKCSI also found that brands with a heritage in customer service continue to excel, with John Lewis, M&S (food) and Waitrose making up the rest of the top five. Nationwide, first direct, Greggs, giffgaff and Iceland complete the top 10.
These companies' standing in the index reflects the high standards they've shown in areas such as staff professionalism, quality and efficiency, and complaint handling. These factors are among 30 considerations factored into the results of an index that's the national measure of UK customer satisfaction.
The UKCSI, which is published twice a year, in January and July, rates customer satisfaction at a national, sector and organisational level across 13 sectors – incorporating the views of 10,000 consumers.
Retailers lead the way
In this latest UKCSI, non-food retailers performed strongest out of all sectors, with an average score of 82.5 (on a 100-point index).
The food retail sector was next, with an average score of 81.3. In this category, M&S scored highest with 85.0 while Tesco was the most improved supermarket chain, increasing its rating by 1.2 points.
Across the board, average customer satisfaction scores improved by 0.8 year-on-year to 77.8 in January 2017, and an increase of 0.4 since July 2016. All sectors experienced an uplift in satisfied customers, except for automotive, which remains static at 78.8. Consumers aged 65 and over are the most ‘satisfied’, with those aged 25 to 34 the least.
Renewed investment needed
However, despite the positive results, the UKCSI also shows that the gap between the highest-performing organisations and the lowest is narrowing. This means that, to deliver sustained performance and to increase loyalty, recommendation and re-purchase, renewed investment in customer service is required.
Jo Causon, Chief Executive of The Institute, says: “Generally speaking, it’s been a better year for customer service, with consumers telling us that businesses are improving overall experiences by getting things right first time and dealing with complaints faster and more efficiently.
“However, these factors do not necessarily translate into customer loyalty and recommendation. Just being ‘good’ is no longer good enough, and organisations should think about how they can deliver outstanding service at all times.”
Causon urged organisations to sharpen their focus on making things easier and less cumbersome for customers, as well as strive for greater consistency across different channels.
“Engagement through digital methods such as email, text, apps and webchat functions have all increased in the last year, and these are the channels through which it’s most difficult for customer service staff to show empathy,” says Causon. “Organisations therefore need to make sure that their staff are highly engaged and highly skilled, as every customer interaction – regardless of the channel it’s on – counts towards business performance.”