Local public services improve in the eyes of the customer

26th Aug 2016

Customer satisfaction in the local public services sector has improved for the sixth year running, the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) shows, but more organisations need to focus on resolving customer issues as soon as they arise.

The UKCSI, which measures customer satisfaction across 13 sectors of the economy, gives the UK’s local public services industry an overall customer satisfaction rating of 73.9 out of 100 – an increase of one point since July 2015. 

Six of the seven organisations reviewed in the sector report have seen a year-on-year increase in customer satisfaction. Local libraries received the sector’s highest score, while housing associations were the most improved.

The data, compiled by the Institute of Customer Service, also reveals a 2% drop in the number of customers who have experienced a problem with their local public service providers over the past 12 months. However, the incidence of problems is substantially higher than the UK average of 12.5%. Issues with staff attitude and competence combined to account for more than two-thirds of customers’ problems.

Across all industries, the results show a clear link between organisations getting customer experiences right first time and achieving high scores for satisfaction. On average, the UKCSI score was 82.7 for organisations that resolved customers’ issues immediately, compared to an average of 59 when this was not the case. This correlation can be seen in the local public services sector, in which only 68% of customers say their most recent interaction was right first time. Despite making improvements, the sector remains below average. 

Consumers also had to expend slightly more effort in dealing with local public sector organisations compared to a year ago. The customer effort score rose from 4.8 to 5.2 (out of 10), the second highest of all sectors.

More than 40% of respondents claimed that it had taken them more than two attempts to get a problem fixed. 

“Getting it right first time has to be a priority for any organisation,” says Jo Causon, the Institute’s chief executive. “The extra staff time spent on repeat customer contact to resolve issues is arguably time which could be better spent, with businesses set to save money on staff hours if a focus is placed on getting it right.”  

Click here to download our executive summary.

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