Retail sector tops charts for customer service

27th Jul 2015

Non-food retailers continue to set the standard for customer satisfaction in the UK, according to the latest research from The Institute of Customer Service that places the sector in the number one spot. However the overall score for the sector is still falling at a quicker pace than the all-sector average in the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI).

In line with all but two of the 13 sectors surveyed by The Institute of Customer Service, the independent professional body for customer service, customer satisfaction has continued to drop in the non-food retail sector, reaching its lowest point since 2010.The average score for the sector declined by 1.7 points, a larger drop than the all-sector average of 1.1. Only four retail organisations reported an improvement in customer satisfaction since last year while ten reported falls of more than one point.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service comments:

“Non-food retailers continue to outperform other sectors, showing that their approach to customer service is still in many ways more sophisticated than other areas in the UK economy. However we are seeing the polarisation. Organisations that are traditionally good at customer service are maintaining their position while those with lower levels of customer satisfaction are falling further behind. This is creating a customer service divide both within the retail sector and across the economy as a whole.“Also the link between good customer service and business performance is becoming clearer every time we undertake UKCSI. It is important that retailers do not ignore the consistent decline in customer satisfaction - our research suggests that those organisations with the lowest customer satisfaction suffer in terms of lower market share, fewer repeat purchases and a lower likelihood of recommendations.”

John Lewis was the highest scoring organisation in the sector with 87.2 points (out of 100), followed by Amazon, Argos and Next. In contrast, five organisations scored below 75 points. With the scores of twelve organisations dropping by one point or more, the non-food retail sector highlights the huge diversity of performance within the sector and across the entire UKCSI.

The percentage of complaints to companies in the retail non-food sector through social media has increased from 2.6% to 6.1%. This is still low compared to the 41% that complained face-to-face, the most popular way to complain, but the use of social media continues to increase dramatically.Across all 28 metrics of customer satisfaction in the UKCSI, customers rate the performance of the Retail Non-food sector higher than the all-sector average in all areas. The biggest performance gaps were found in “problem solving”, “timeliness” and “quality and efficiency” suggesting these were areas where other sectors can learn most from non-food retailers.

Causon adds:

“In this period of economic recovery it is tempting for organisations to focus on short term objectives. That being said a concerted effort must be made to deliver improving levels of service to provide clear differentiation in a very competitive sector. Leaders of retail organisations must hold on to this initiative, maintain focus and champion customer service, which will in turn, help to ensure the UK remains a leader in the delivery of excellent customer service.”

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

For further information please contact Nathan Field/Michael Creane/Tom Ingoldby

[email protected]

T: 0207 680 5500

Mike Petrook/Jenny Rye (Institute press office)

E: [email protected]/[email protected]

T: 020 7260 2631/ 020 7260 2629

About the Institute of Customer Service

The Institute of Customer Service is the professional body for customer service delivering tangible benefit to organisations and individuals so that our customers can improve their customers’ experience and their own business performance.The Institute is a membership body with a community of over 400 organisational members – from the private, public and third sectors – and over 5,000 individual memberships.For more information about the Institute of Customer Service go to: www.instituteofcustomerservice.com

UK Customer Satisfaction Index

UKCSI (UK Customer Satisfaction Index) is the national measure of customer satisfaction. It is based on an online survey of consumers, geographically and demographically representative of the UK population.The UKCSI began in January 2008 and is published twice a year, normally January and July. The Index covers 13 sectors – 11 in the private sector as well as local and national public services. Sector reports giving a detailed breakdown of scores by sector and organisation are available.Customers are asked to rate organisations on customer priorities that they have identified as important. Priorities are grouped in terms of professionalism; quality and efficiency; ease of doing business; problem solving and timeliness. Each priority is given a weighted score. The weighted satisfaction scores are used to produce the index.Customers score their responses for each measure on a 1-to-10 scale. Overall scores for each sector are mean averages of all responses. The overall UKCSI score for each organisation is the average of all of its customers’ satisfaction scores, weighted for each question grouping.The January 2015 UKCSI includes 39,000 unique responses. 10,144 customers have been surveyed. Customers are geographically and demographically representative of the UK population and participate in the survey through an online panel. Customers are asked to provide a score for organisations based on their most recent transaction.222 individual organisations received a UKCSI rating. Only organisations that exceed a minimum sample size are scored in the 13 sector reports. In addition, scores are given for 16 generic providers including “your local NHS / Hospital”, “your local Council”, “your local restaurant” etc

Ends

Notes to editors

For further information please contact:


About The Institute of Customer Service

The Institute of Customer Service is the professional body for customer service delivering tangible benefit to organisations and individuals so that our customers can improve their customers' experience and their own business performance. The Institute is a membership body with a community of over 400 organisational members - from the private, public and third sectors - and over 5,000 individual memberships.

For more information about the Institute of Customer Service go to www.instituteofcustomerservice.com

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