Food retailers score above the UK average on customer satisfaction

28th Mar 2017

M&S (Food) and Iceland are beating their rivals hands down on customer satisfaction, according to this year’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index for the retail (food) sector. As a whole, the sector achieved the second highest score on customer satisfaction of all sectors across the UK.

M&S (Food) is the top-performing and most improved organisation in the 2017 ranking, compiled by The Institute of Customer Service, after climbing 1.5 points on 2016 to achieve a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) score of 85. That’s 3.7 points higher than the sector average. Iceland, which has a CSI of 84.3, is also up on the year by 1.1 points.

The highest-scoring organisations beat their competitors on reputation, product/service quality and reliability, and speed of ‘in person’ service.

A sector-wide CSI of 81.3 is 3.5 points higher than the UK-all sector average and up 0.2 points on the year.

Getting it ‘right first time’

One key area where the sector is winning is getting customer interactions ‘right first time’. At 85.5%, the retail (food) sector has the highest proportion of such customer interactions of any UK sector. The UK average is 77% and the sector average is up from last year’s score of 81.3%.

This is important because getting customer interactions right first time boosts satisfaction rates. The average satisfaction of customers whose experience was right first time is 83.6, compared with 66.1 for those whose experience was not right first time.

The sector scored above the UK average on most other customer experience measures. ‘In person’ experiences, which account for 79.4% of all customer interactions, scored a CSI of 81.9, up from 81.4 last year and much higher than the UK all-sector average of 79.7. Supermarkets also showed a strong performance on ‘over the phone’ experiences and managing complaints, but fared less well on ‘in writing’ and ‘online’ experiences.

Time to act

The findings of this year’s index give food retailers plenty to act upon. Maintaining a focus on getting things right first time and making experiences easier and more straightforward for customers should be top of the ‘to do’ list, according to The Institute.

Retailers should also address the areas that show the biggest gaps between high- and low-scoring organisations. And, in recognition of the growth in customer interactions by email, web and other digital applications, supermarkets need to focus on offering a consistent experience across all channels.

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