UK Customer Satisfaction results – July ’18 highlights PT1

This is the first of two articles looking at the high and lows of the July ’18 results from the Institute of Customer Service. You can download the Executive summary here.

For a quick skim read of the key takeaways, just read the headers and you’ll be good to go!

Overall customer satisfaction across all industries is slightly down on last year

The numbers. The overall index is 77.9, down 0.3 on this time last year from the joint highest score with Jan ’13 of 78.2.

Of the key customer measures, trust and customer effort remain the same. However the number of customer experiencing a problem has positively decreased (from 13.1% to 12.8%) whilst the number of customer experience that are right first time has declined from 80.7% to 78.7%.

Despite overall satisfaction decreasing, Net Promoter has increased by 1.3 to 18.3.

Retail (non Food) sector scores highest in both CSAT and NPS

Consistently at the top of the table,  Retail (non Food) has a CSAT index of 82.1 and an NPS score of 40.5, with both scores being well above average. Bottom of the table comes Transport with an index of 72.5, having declined from July ’17, whilst for NPS, that position is reserved for Utilities with -4.9 highlighting the gulf in recommendation between highest and lowest performing sectors.

Amazon top the table, followed by John Lewis

Amazon retain their first place from last year with an index of 86.7, followed closely by John Lewis at 87.5. Two companies tie for joint third on 86.1; Next and Yorkshire Bank, with the bank rocketing up the table from 103 this time last year.

First Direct and Nationwide tie for joint fifth on 85.6 with First Direct down from their second place last year.

Other companies that have made significant moves up the table include;

  • Trivago at 16th place, up from 136th last year to 83.3
  • Kia at 33rd place, up from 136th to 81.8
  • Jaguar at 37th, up from 190th to 81.6

Not surprisingly, Yorkshire Bank, Trivago and Jaguar have the largest increases in satisfaction.

Bringing up the rear of the top 50 companies (only published in the free report from the UKCSI) is Toby Carvery at 81.2 and joint 48th. However to give them their just deserves, they were 106th last year!

No utilities companies now reside inside the top 50. Ovo Energy sit just outside at 81, down from their 42nd place at 81.8 last year.

Interestingly nearly twice as many organisation’s scores have declined by two points versus those that have improved by two points (55 vs 28)

There are 4 new entrants to the UKCSI; Great Northern, Dacia, Virgin Money and South East Water.

6 Key differentiators Makes a Difference to higher customer satisfaction performance

  • Low customer effort
  • Ease of getting through
  • Trust
  • Cares about their customers
  • Helpfulness/competence of staff
  • Speed of response

High performing organisation also have higher percentages of right first time experiences (88.2 vs 79.4), lower problems experienced (9.1 vs. 12.5) and higher complaint handling satisfaction (7.1 vs 5.7). This also suggest that customers expect problems rather than expect perfection but they way in which they’re handled is critical to avoid them impacting customer satisfaction.

6 Biggest priorities for improvement

  1. Make it easier to contact the right person to help me
  2. Better website navigation
  3. Better product/service range
  4. Better accessibility
  5. Better quality of product/service
  6. Better speed of response/resolution

Whilst priorities vary by sector, making it easy to contact and better website dominate as a theme across most sectors.

That’s it for part 1. Part 2 covers;

  • Customer satisfaction and business performance
  • Doing the right thing
  • Demographics
  • Opportunities and enablers.

If you want to discuss anything mentioned here further, or want to know how we can help you improve your organisation’s customer experience to reap more business results then please get in touch.


Northern Power Grid customer service round table

I was recently invited to take part in a round table conversation on the subject of delivering great customer service.

It probably goes without saying that I’m a massive fan of any organisation who looks to learn more about their customers with a view to improving their customer experience.

The organisation in question was Northern Power Grid – the northern distributor of electricity who “keep the lights on, the kettles boiling an the phones charged for 8 million people across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.”   

They deal with consumers and businesses alike, and other attendees for the group included Northumbrian Water and the Hanro Group

They’ve a unique challenge when it comes to customers though as unless you’ve experienced a power cut, or requested a new connection in a property – you’ve most likely never heard of them!

In a perfect world, they maintain supply, sit quietly in the background and do what they need to, to maintain the network supply. It’s more than likely, most people won’t be able to articulate who they are and what they do which is where their challenge arises.

Engaging and delivering a service to customers who don’t know who they are, and why they’re there is difficult. In the event of a power cut, people just want their supply restored in as fast a time as possible, and that’s stressful for everyone including NPG who are already on the back foot in a situation like that – if it’s not a planned outage.

I’ve worked with a number of utility businesses including Southern Water who were able to boost customer engagement by, of all things, inviting customers to one of their water treatment works!

Apparently, once customers understand the amount of work and effort that goes into cleaning and recycling their water, it shifts customers’ appreciation of what’s involved and, more importantly what their bills contribute towards.

However, NPG are investing time and effort to understand what customers want – both consumer and business and to work towards improving on what good work they already do.

I’m for one keen to keep a track on their progress. Good luck to them!