Customer experience in the UK has improved for the first time in three years, according to new research published by KPMG Nunwood.
The firm surveyed 10,000 consumers about UK brands, revealing substantial progress in the quality of experience companies provide. The UK obtained the highest overall Customer Experience Excellence* (CEE) score (7.33) since analysis began, as businesses’ customer experience strategies begin to have an effect.
first direct topped the table of all brands, having previously held the position in 2014. Lush dropped to third place, while John Lewis climbed to second.
2016 UK Top 10 Results:
The grocery sector led the way in terms of customer experience, despite facing a challenging trading environment. In the ongoing battle of the supermarkets M&S Food performed best, ranking 7th in the overall brand analysis, followed by Waitrose in 12th and Ocado in 13th.
Brands in the travel and hotel sector saw some of the biggest improvements in customer experience. American Airlines (ranking 70th) was the most improved brand this year, climbing 156 places. Emirates topped the league table in the travel and hotel sector, ranking fourth in the overall brand analysis.
Despite a backdrop of various challenges, including the impact of the EU Referendum vote on market confidence and increased regulatory demands, nearly a quarter of the top-100 brands were from the financial sector. Following first direct’s success, Nationwide Building Society also claimed a top-10 position, coming in joint 9th with Apple Store this year.
Further illustrating the improved picture for the UK, this year’s analysis reveals that the UK is catching up with the US when it comes to customer experience. While the UK remains behind the US, the UK’s CEE score of 7.33 was just shy of the US’s 7.42 this year.
Commenting on this year’s findings, David Conway, Director at KPMG Nunwood, said:
“Customer experience success is always a work in progress and there is scarcely a company in the world that is not concerned about the quality of customer experience they deliver. For the grocery sector, the ongoing price war has resulted in customer service being the new differentiator.
“Memorable customer experience is vital in order to achieve brand advocacy and loyalty. While most businesses seek to improve customer experience, a company must go beyond simply meeting expectations and exceed them in order to leave a lasting impression.
“Innovation and rising customer expectations continue to carve out a new customer experience landscape ahead. Whilst this year highlights an improved picture for the UK, the battle of the brands will undoubtedly continue.”
Adrian Clamp, UK Head of Customer Advisory at KPMG, added:
“In a world of rapidly changing customer behaviour and rising expectations, our research tells us that many UK companies need to sharpen their customer strategies and learn how to put customer experience at the heart of their business.
“In order to differentiate from the competition and leave a positive impression on consumers, companies can no longer rely on tried and tested methods. Winners in the race for customer loyalty are those that have learned how to harness customer insight data and technologies to deliver positive memorable experiences every time.”
- * The Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) score is a weighted average of each brand’s score in The Six Pillars that drive brand advocacy and loyalty (Personalisation, Time and Effort, Resolution, Integrity, Expectations, Empathy).
- Methodology of KPMG Nunwood 2016 UK Customer Experience Excellence Centre Analysis: KPMG Nunwood surveyed over 10,000 consumers between 11th and 25th of July 2016 on various aspects relating to customer experience. Brands are ranked in order according to their CEE score. The CEE score is derived via a weighted average of the brand’s score for each of The Six Pillars. This weighting is calculated by the relative importance of each pillar in driving the two commercial outcomes KPMG Nunwood measures in analysis: advocacy and loyalty.