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UK customer satisfaction levels at lowest point since 2011

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18th Jul 2014
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The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) has released its latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) results, with satisfaction levels dropping for a third consecutive period.

The biannual index, which surveys around 10,000 consumers, asks participants to give marks out of 100 for almost 200 brands to decipher a mean score for overall satisfaction levels.

It rated current customer satisfaction at 76.3% for July 2014, compared with 77.1% in January and 77.9% a year ago. It’s the lowest figure since January 2011, and represents the general view from ICS that brands aren’t doing enough to please their customers.

“There are a number of factors that could be influencing the downward trend in satisfaction,” says Jo Causon, CEO for the ICS. “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.”

Only ten of the organisations rated in the UKCSI study’s top 50 have improved their performance on last July’s results. John Lewis were rated as the customer’s favourite brand in terms of satisfaction, however their percentage point dipped from 90.8 to 87.7.

Amazon were placed second and First Direct third, despite both brands also receiving lower scores than last year. Of the top ten brands, only Tesco and Next received better scores than last year.   

The ICS believes more attention needs to be paid to the service qualities and experience angle of businesses in the UK, especially given that 78% of GPD in the UK is generated through service.

“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,” Causon adds.

“Organisations that deliver sustained, long-term success are those with a strategic leadership commitment to customer service across the whole customer experience. As the economy moves into growth, there is a temptation to prioritise a short-term boost in customer numbers; but the evidence from UKCSI demonstrates that only a consistent focus on the customer experience will enable organisations to adapt to changing customer expectations and achieve sustainable success.

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