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UK customer experience leaders see CX as “the new marketing”

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15th Sep 2015
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KPMG Nunwood’s 2015 UK Excellence Report ranks Lush cosmetics as the country’s leading brand for customer experience.

The annual ranking, based on the opinions of 10,000 consumers, sees Lush overtake First Direct as the UK’s CX leader, but found “little overall progress” from brands since 2014, with most lagging behind average rankings for companies in the US.

Perhaps the most pertinent finding from the study was that the brands that saw most rapid improvement were those that had approached customer experience as “the new marketing”, making investments to ensure it “permeates everything the business does”.

KPMG Nunwood defines this as brands that had made significant investments in six key areas: personalisation, being seen as trustworthy, managing customer expectations, resolutions, minimising customer effort and being empathetic.

However, Tim Knight, a director at the firm, believes these are also six areas that UK brands struggle most to improve:     

"UK businesses find it challenging to get things right for their customers. Despite growing investment and boardroom focus, many firms still struggle to put the customer at the heart of their transformation efforts.

“As the country approaches more rapid economic growth, those brands at the top of this year’s rankings are best positioned to delight customers and shareholders alike. Top rankings in customer experience link not only to better loyalty, but improved revenue growth and EBITDA [Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization]. Learning from the customer experience best practice of today’s leaders will be critical to competing in tomorrow’s market.”

On average, the 10 leading brands grew sales by £43 million more every year compared to those positioned 11-100.

Lush was praised by consumers for its transparency, including new initiatives such as Lush Kitchen, where customers can watch and follow their cosmetic product being made.

QVC, the TV shopping channel, ranked fifth overall, but was applauded for its omnichannel approach to CX, which spans across the web in various formats as well as via the TV:

“QVC is the definition of an omnichannel retailer,” the report states. “They top our omni-channel index. Using all media including live TV to interact with their customers.

“Being available when customers are available via TV, live studio feed on their website, pictures and embedded videos online, enabling customers to share their experiences via product feedback, ratings, community forums, and on-air testimonials.”

This type of omnichannel approach was seen as the dividing line between how UK brands faired overall, compared with those in the US.

The report states that US companies have a largely different approach to the adoption of digital technologies.

“In the US, it is simply an extension of the business model - an additional way to engage with the customer - in an integrated eco system with the customer at the centre. In the UK, by contrast, digital has been seen historically as a separate line of sight to the customer, a different channel with different products, prices and costs.”

KPMG Nunwood 2015 UK Excellence Report top ten brands

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