Customer satisfaction is on the decline according to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI),

John Lewis and Amazon top the index again, exchanging positions this year as the online retailer drops to second place. Of the index’s top 10 organisations with the highest levels of customer satisfaction, only Tesco Mobile, Next and Center Parcs have shown improvement year-on-year.

The UK Customer Satisfaction Index, which surveys nearly 10,000 consumers, reveals that satisfaction has continued to fall, leaving people more unhappy with their customer experience now than they were in January 2011, a major concern for organisations as the economy begins to grow.

Almost half of the 197 organisations featured in the index saw a drop in satisfaction by at least one point, including organisations that are consistently amongst the highest rated by their customers.

In every sector there is a range of customer satisfaction scores, including examples of organisations that have defied the overall trend and improved their customer satisfaction.

Some of the organisations which have registered the biggest improvements in satisfaction are in sectors that have lower than the UK average satisfaction, such as Transport and Utilities. Eight organisations in the top fifty have improved on their performance since July 2013, by at least one point.

Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service, commented:
“There are a number of factors that could be influencing the downward trend in satisfaction. Customer expectations are rising and their needs are changing more quickly, with speed, convenience and being easy to do business with particularly important.

“In this environment, organisations must invest in customer insight and apply it with agility. They will also need continuously to review their customer service skills, capabilities and standards to ensure they are relevant to changing customer needs.

“The UK is now a genuine relationship economy, where an organisation’s long-term success is determined by the quality of interactions between customers, suppliers, partners and organisations.

“The evidence in UKCSI shows a clear correlation between high levels of customer satisfaction and increased trust, loyalty, recommendation and sales growth, something that can be demonstrated clearly in the retail food sector.”

For the first time, UKCSI investigates levels of satisfaction by age group and reveals what customers look for in their transactions with an organisation. The research showed that, rather than being a nation of grumpy old men, the people most likely to be dissatisfied with levels of customer service are from younger age-groups.

This suggests that customer expectations will continue to rise over time, and that organisations will need to adapt in order to maintain their customer focus.

UKCSI, commissioned by the Institute of Customer Service, takes its results from more than 40,000 individual customer experiences. It is the UK’s largest and most comprehensive survey of customer satisfaction and the only one carried out by a not-for-profit organisation.

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