The Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney, recently said of the UK economy: “For the first time in a long time you don’t have to be an optimist to see the glass is half full. The recovery has finally taken hold.”

This change is exemplified by the phenomenal performance of British brands in Nunwood’s UK Customer Experience Excellence survey, with eight of the top 10, and 75 of the top 100, being homegrown.

This year’s winner was John Lewis, which knocked online titan Amazon off the top spot which it has held for three years. A quintessentially British brand, John Lewis seized the number one spot by demonstrating exceptional customer experience throughout its omni-channel operation.

The brand has become a national leader in customer experience excellence, performing well across all categories, especially integrity, resolution and empathy. Flying the flag high for British brands, John Lewis leads by example.

The Nunwood UK CEE is one of the most robust customer experience surveys in the world. Now in its fourth year, its findings are based on 7,500 individual responses across 260 UK brands. Most importantly, each response is based on feedback from actual customer interactions with brands in the past six months.

In times of austerity, value for money is a key factor for any customer and this is another area in which British brands excel, with 15 of the top 20 best value for money brands being British.

GiffGaff, the crowd-sourced mobile phone network, claimed the top spot and increased its scores across all sectors of the survey, especially resolution. GiffGaff is not the only company being recognised as offering value for money.

This past year, budget supermarkets have ramped up efforts to improve customer experience, a strategy reflected in this year’s results. Nevertheless, it is not only British brands that have excelled in this arena.

German supermarket Aldi has leapt up in the rankings from 35th in 2012 to joint 20th this year. Also 3rd in terms of value for money, Aldi proves that good customer service and value for money can go hand-in-hand. The budget supermarket has consistently improved its scores across the board, affirming its somewhat meteoric rise as one of the best brands for customer experience.

As could be expected, the high-end supermarkets, such as Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, have provided consistently good customer experiences this year. Nevertheless, the fact that budget supermarkets are clawing their way into the top 20 indicates that the big supermarket giants should be wary of this ever improving competition. Perhaps big brands can no longer rely on just an established reputation to entice the customer?

As well as those brands which have excelled by making it into the top twenty, there have been some big movers and shakers throughout the survey. Nationwide has leapt up 26 places to 26th overall, demonstrating real progress on its commitment to be the number one brand for customer experience in the financial services industry.

BA has flown up 34 places to number 32, proving that its £5bn brand overhaul and sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics has worked wonders, as did its ‘Fly to Serve” initiative.

This is reflected by a dramatic increase in positive sentiment as the majority of customers agree that the airline has made major improvements to its customer experience.

Without a doubt, this year’s biggest improver was Butlins. The British brand has proved that it still has a place in the nation’s heart by climbing 151 places into the top 20. Butlins recognised that the cultural foundations of its organisation needed a shake up to enhance its customer experience. By building a cultural change strategy and investing in all its resorts, Butlins has achieved exceptionally strong expectation and empathy scores.

More information about Nunwood and the Customer Experience Excellence Centre, as well as report insights, can be found on the Nunwood website.
The UK CEE is only one element of the company’s CEE Centre, which also annually analyses the most loved brands in North America and APAC. In fact, Nunwood was recently named as a finalist in the UK Customer Experience awards for its work with Australian supermarket Woolworths.

With British brands in the ascendancy, and economic recovery underway, it’s great to report positive news in customer experience.

At Nunwood, we’d love to take credit, but the hat tip must go to the British organisations which are tirelessly making every customer’s life a little bit better, every single day.

David ConwayDavid Conway – co-manages Nunwood’s global customer experience management practice and oversees the company’s Customer Experience Excellence Centre, an on-going approach to systematically identifying global best practise.
David is a former PLC board director of N&P Building Society, Liverpool Victoria Group and The Co-operative Bank, where he was responsible for 3,500 staff delivering world-class experiences to more than 6.5 million customers. He also led the design, set-up and launch of the group’s Smile brand.
David is based out of the United Kingdom, but continues to work directly with clients around the world.

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