Shoppers hold the power as new research shows satisfaction dictates business performance

12th Jul 2017

The UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), published today by The Institute of Customer Service, reveals how customers hold the power when it comes to business performance. The report reveals Aldi is now the highest performing supermarket for customer satisfaction, overtaking M&S and Waitrose, whilst also making the largest gains in sales and market share. The three supermarkets with the lowest customer service levels – Tesco, Asda and Co-op Food – all saw small drops in market share.

Institute analysis finds food retailers with satisfied customers saw a sales growth of 10.7%, compared to only 1.8% for those with satisfaction falling below average. Customer service is therefore a driving force behind those who reaped the benefits of this sector growth – and those who fell behind.

This is supported by additional evidence mapping customer satisfaction against share price. Analysis of 42 major retailers over the past five years finds that in 60% of cases, when customer satisfaction increases or decrease, share price follows suit. Morrisons fell in UKCSI score from July 2014 to January 2016, and saw dips in share price during the same period. Ocado has seen a downward trajectory of share price over the past three years, and has fallen five points in customer satisfaction since the beginning of 2015.

Jo Causon, Chief Executive of The Institute of Customer Service, said: “In each of the last 11 UKCSI reports, dating back to July 2012, we have consistently seen evidence that supermarkets with the highest customer satisfaction outperform the sector average for sales and market share. Although it seems obvious that customers are key to business performance, service strategy can often fall by the wayside in boardroom conversations. The UKCSI report offers a clear imperative to put customer satisfaction first.”

The power of customer happiness for safeguarding business performance does not only hold true in the retail sector. The UKCSI report additionally compares banks’ current account gains and UKCSI results, finding a relationship between high levels of customer satisfaction and gaining current accounts.

12 of the 17 banks featured in Current Account Switch Service Dashboard also appear in the UKCSI.

Those with high customer satisfaction (Nationwide, TSB, Santander, Halifax and NatWest) achieved an average of 20,016 net current account gains, compared to an average net loss of 9,017 for those with lower satisfaction. In fact, these four organisations accounted for 67% (145,743) of all current account gains in Q3 2016.

The retail (food and non-food) sectors are the top overall for customer satisfaction, whilst banking is among the most improved. Eight of the top ten organisations are from these industries, including Amazon (at number one), John Lewis, Next, Aldi, Nationwide and M&S Bank. Despite uncertainty post Brexit, the UKCSI also reveals a growing trend for customers placing an emphasis on service over price: the UKCSI
finds 28% of customers favour excellent service even if it means paying more, whereas only 15% always want the cheapest deal, even it means accepting no frills service.

Causon concludes: “The findings from this report paint a clear picture for UK plc: place the customer at the centre of business strategy, or risk losing out to those who do.”

The UKCSI is the national measure of UK customer satisfaction. It rates customer satisfaction at a national, sector and organisational level across 13 sectors – incorporating the views of 10,000 consumers. More than 30 different considerations – such as staff professionalism, quality and efficiency, and complaint handling – are factored into the results. It is published twice a year, in January and July. To find out more, and to download the full UKCSI report, visit:


Notes to editors
For further information please contact:
Ellie Scott, Rebecca Peck and Bethan Davies
E: [email protected]
T: 0207 010 0831 (Ellie), 020 7010 0877 (Rebecca) or 0207 010 851 (Bethan)

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 500 organisational members - from the private, public and third sectors – and over 3,000 individual memberships.  For more information about The Institute of Customer Service go to   


UKCSI (UK Customer Satisfaction Index) is The Institute of Customer Service’s national measure of customer satisfaction. It provides insights into the state and direction of customer satisfaction at a national level, across 13 key sectors and for individual organisations.  UKCSI was launched by The Institute of Customer Service in 2008. It provides a unique way of measuring the current customer satisfaction of UK customers, as well as trends over time.  The July 2017 UKCSI results included in this report are based on 43,500 survey responses. Each response is a completed online questionnaire relating to the customer experience with a specific organisation.  These responses are provided by over 10,000 individual customers. The respondents are representative of the UK adult population, according to region, age and gender.

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