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Retail sector best for customer satisfaction, despite decline

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10th Sep 2014
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Retail is outperforming rival sectors when it comes to customer satisfaction, but has “not been spared from the decline”, according to the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).

The ICS issued a rallying cry in advance of a number of large-scale retailers updating the city and the British Retail Consortium publishing its latest sector report, stating that retailers still needed to do more to buck the trend of deteriorating customer satisfaction levels.

Based on figures from July’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index, retailers scored higher than any other industry, with John Lewis and Amazon rated as the UK’s two best businesses for customer satisfaction, followed by Specsavers and Next.

However, while consumers gave retailers the best ratings, the sector still experienced a decline of 0.9 in average score, in line with the overall all-sector decline score of 0.8.      

John Lewis is deemed the most trusted organisation with a score of 8.9 (out of 10), demonstrating the clear link between customer satisfaction and retailer trust.

“Retailers have retained their position ahead of other sectors included in the UKCSI demonstrating that customers and other sectors still regard the industry as the standard bearer for good customer service,” said Jo Causon, CEO of the ICS.

“However, the latest results show there is no room for complacency; customer needs are changing rapidly alongside their expectations and available choices. With a clear link between good customer service and business performance there could be serious consequences of ignoring the consistent decline in customer satisfaction.”

Research from Georgia State University recently found that consumers were far more likely to consider customer satisfaction as part of their buying process during periods of economic prosperity, despite the common assertion that service is most important during harder times. With the UK currently experiencing a period of economic growth, the ICS’s findings appear to suggest that many businesses are failing to match up to increasing consumer expectations.

“As the economy begins to recover it is tempting for organisations to focus on short term objectives,” Jo Causon added.

“A concerted effort must be is made to deliver consistent levels of service in order to provide clear differentiation in a competitive sector. Leaders of retail organisations must therefore make an effort to regain the initiative, maintain focus and champion customer service and in turn, help to ensure the UK remains a leader in service.”

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