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Growing focus on staff engagement driving up CX standards in UK - study

27th Jun 2019
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New research reveals steady improvement in customer experience standards in Britain - with efforts to improve employee engagement being a key contributor. 

KPMG Nunwood’s annual report into customer experience levels in the UK says there has been steady improvement across nearly all sectors. 

Now in its tenth year, the Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) analysis highlights a second year of small gains in terms of performance, specifically across retail and finance sectors.

The results will be welcomed by UK brands, and is in contrast with recent research in the US, where CX levels have started to plateau.

Employee experience

According to the report – titled Power to the People – the main differentiator over the last 12 months has been the impact of employee engagement programmes among the most successful of the brands analysed.

First direct, Monzo, Lush, Lakeland, Richer Sounds and John Lewis Finance topped the rankings, based on the views of over 13,000 UK consumers.

Richer Sounds recently received national praise for handing complete control of its business activity to its employees, whilst John Lewis is famed for its employee profit share scheme.   

First Direct, Monzo, Lush and Lakeland also all have highly commended employee engagement practices in place, and the results appear to be paying off in terms of customer experience.

The overall CEE score increased from 7.13 in 2018, to 7.21 in this year’s report. This follows a record low of 7.08 in 2017, a year that KMPG Nunwood’s reports states was a peak for brands struggling to match customer expectations.  

Challenger bank leads the way

Richard Little, head of challenger banking at KPMG UK, believes that Monzo’s rise to prominence is notable, given the incumbent brands it competes with:

“There is little escaping the fact that challenger banks are increasingly more established. Many are growing larger and at pace; building solid brands and are continuing to attract new customers.

“Their innovation has set a new benchmark for what customers expect from their bank, and established players are having to rise to the challenge.

“Inertia is particularly strong in banking, and these now established challenger banks face the shared challenges of ring-fencing and of course remaining competitive on rates – something legacy players arguably have more flex on. Clearly innovation within banking will continue to raise the bar, with customer experience at the heart of the battle to win market share in this space.”

KPMG’s analysis also highlighted the improvements made by Mothercare, Green Flag, Yo! Sushi, Pizza Express and Prudential.

However, this year’s analysis also saw utilities and the public sector experience large improvements, with CCE score improvements of 3% and 4%.

 Tim Knight, a partner at KPMG Nunwood and co-author of this year’s report, added:

“This year, we see an increasing number of brands getting real returns from their hard work to improve their customers’ experiences, after many false starts and a record low in 2017.  However, keeping pace with rising customer expectations continues to be extremely tough.  

“Cross-category leaders are setting new levels of performance, raising the bar for everyone, regardless of sector.  This year’s research shows that it’s those brands with the most motivated employees that are best reacting to change, whilst also generating the best returns for shareholders.”


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