UK Customer Satisfaction Index

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1 UK Customer Satisfaction Index The state of customer satisfaction in the UK January 2015 instituteofcustomerservice.com

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3 foreword The January 2015 UKCSI reveals a fourth consecutive fall in customer satisfaction. UK customers are now, on average, less satisfied with the service they receive than at any point since July I believe that these results reflect profound shifts in the market environment. Customers expectations have evolved rapidly, leading to an ever-growing desire for convenience, speed and value. Moreover, we expect the service experience to be more personalised than before, with organisations expected to anticipate our current and potentially future needs. As customer expectations have evolved, some organisations have evolved with them or even ahead of them. This report shows that a number from a range of sectors deliver consistently high UKCSI scores, indicating a sustained focus on meeting and where possible exceeding what customers expect. But no fewer than 58% of the organisations in UKCSI have seen their customer satisfaction score fall by more than one point over the past year. Meanwhile the average satisfaction rating in all but two of the 13 sectors in UKCSI has dropped over the same period. The business risks of service under-performance are acute. As UKCSI reveals, customer behaviour is strongly influenced by service quality. Organisations that deliver better service benefit from more recommendations, driving customer acquisition and sales. They also create more customer loyalty and trust. For the retail food sector, the research demonstrates a striking and consistent link between service levels and growth in market share. In the relationship economy, customer relationships are a critical factor in business success, as are relationships with suppliers, partners and employees. In this new environment, those organisations that put service at the heart of their business models and collaborate to deliver the end-to-end experience will be the most successful. Given the clear links between customer service and business outcomes, the findings in this report should serve as a call to action for organisations across all sectors. The results have national implications as well. The ability of UK companies to compete successfully in international markets depends on the service skills, leadership and innovation they demonstrate, as does the ability of UK plc to attract inward-investment as a great place to do business. I believe that organisations have much to gain by driving a genuine and sustained focus on the service agenda and the results of the UKCSI serve to prove this point. Joanna Causon CEO The Institute of Customer Service 1

4 contents UKCSI January 2015: key findings 3 Customer satisfaction in the UK: the state of the nation 4 Customer service in 13 sectors 5 The new environment for customer service 10 Why customer service matters 13 Customer satisfaction and employee engagement 17 Trends in customer satisfaction measures 19 The customer service performance of organisations 21 What should organisations do? 26 2 The Institute of Customer Service

5 key findings UKCSI January 2015 The downward trend in customer satisfaction continues Customer satisfaction, as measured by the UKCSI at the national level, is now lower than at any point since July This suggests that organisations in the UK are not keeping up with customers increasing expectations of service and that many are missing out on the business performance benefits of high and/or improving customer satisfaction. Only two sectors have improved customer satisfaction Of the 13 sectors covered in UKCSI, Utilities have delivered the most improved average customer satisfaction ratings over the past year, with a rise of 1.9 (out of 100) since January Banks & Building Societies is the only other sector to have registered an improvement over the period, albeit by just 0.3 points. Meanwhile, three water companies Southern Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities have registered the largest improvements in customer satisfaction by any organisation during this period. Customer segments offer contrasting levels of satisfaction The most significant contrast between customer segments revealed by UKCSI is around age groups. Younger people are considerably less satisfied as customers, underlining the importance of understanding the needs and satisfaction levels of different customer groups. Service drives customer engagement, trust and loyalty The UKCSI results provide evidence of the link between customer satisfaction and business outcomes. Highly satisfied customers are significantly more likely than less satisfied customers to make a recommendation, remain as customers and feel a sense of trust towards the organisation. Satisfaction ratings related to speed, complaints and staff issues have fallen In the past two years, customers have reduced their ratings on 26 of the 28 customer experience metrics included in UKCSI. Some of the most significant declines can be seen in metrics relating to three key areas: speed/responsiveness, complaints handling and staff behaviour/attitude. Consistent high scorers dominate the UKCSI top 10 A group of seven organisations has consistently scored over 83 (out of 100) in UKCSI over the past two years. One of these organisations, John Lewis, is the highest rated named organisation in UKCSI January Employee engagement is strongly linked with customer satisfaction Those sectors where customers rate employees to be more engaged tend to deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction, indicating the critical role of employee engagement in improving and sustaining service. Service drives sales and market share in the Retail Food sector For the sixth consecutive period, leading food retailers with a UKCSI score above the Retail Food sector average have grown their combined market share, while the below average competitors in the sector have lost market share. The Institute of Customer Service 3

6 customer satisfaction in the UK: the state of the nation Based on the experiences of 10,000 customers across 13 sectors of the economy, the UKCSI reveals the trend in customer satisfaction at the national level. The January 2015 findings indicate that customer satisfaction continues to be under pressure, with a drop in the index of 0.3 points compared to July 2014, and a drop of 1.1 points since January This decline continues a downward trend recorded since customer satisfaction peaked at 78.2 in January At 76.0, the index is now lower than at any point since July We believe this downward trend in customer satisfaction is due to a combination of factors associated with market environment changes, shifts in customer expectations, preferences and behaviour and in some cases, a number of organisations that have not focused sufficiently on their customer service strategies and delivery. 79 What is the trend in customer satisfaction? UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) Jan-09 Jul-09 Jan-10 Jul-10 Jan-11 Jul-11 Jan-12 Jul-12 Jan-13 Jul-13 Jan-14 Jul-14 Jan-15 4 The Institute of Customer Service

7 customer satisfaction in 13 sectors UKCSI scores by sector Retail (Non-food) Retail (Food) Tourism Automotive Banks & Building Societies Leisure Insurance Services Transport Public Services (Local) Telecommunications & Media Public Services (National) Utilities Jan-15 Jul-14 Jan-14 The Institute of Customer Service 5

8 The UKCSI scores and change in scores of the last 13 sectors in UKCSI present significant contrasts. Sectors in category UKCSI performance Characteristics Retail (Non-food and Food) Tourism Automotive Leisure Insurance Services UKCSI down but remains above all-sector average Characterised by a high level of competition and customer demand for speed and convenience Most but not all organisations set strategic priorities based on the role of service in driving business performance Some organisations have focused on gaining market share in the short term but not addressed sustainable improvements that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty Banks & Building Societies UKCSI up slightly and above all-sector average Sector has maintained satisfaction levels year-on-year Regulatory and media focus on business practices and treatment of customers has highlighted links between service, reputation and business performance Improved ability of customers to switch banks likely to incentivise further investment in improving service First Direct and Nationwide both feature in the UKCSI top 10 showing that high customer satisfaction can be achieved and sustained; however, four of the 13 banks covered in UKCSI score below the all-sector average of 76.0 Telecommunications & Media UKCSI down and remains below all-sector average A wide range of ratings between different providers Strong links between higher customer satisfaction and trust, reputation, recommendation and repurchase The sector which consistently generates the highest proportion of problems and complaints for customers 1. The full details of the performance of individual organisations in each sector can be found in the UKCSI Sector Reports. These are available from The Institute of Customer Service. 6 The Institute of Customer Service

9 Sectors in category UKCSI performance Characteristics Transport UKCSI down and remains below all-sector average A wide range of ratings between different providers Strong links between higher customer satisfaction and trust, reputation, recommendation and repurchase Sector with the highest proportion of customers who don t report problems Public Services (Local and National) UKCSI down and remains below all-sector average Challenges include: Rising customer expectations and demand Budget pressures Fragmentation of services How to incentivise innovation in environments which are traditionally risk averse UKCSI shows the wide range of customer satisfaction scores between different branches of the public sector Utilities UKCSI up slightly and above all-sector average Remains the lowest scoring of 13 UKCSI sectors but biggest improvement 1.9 points in the past year Three water companies are the top three improvers in UKCSI Four of the big six energy companies have improved their UKCSI score by more than one point in the past year The Institute of Customer Service 7

10 Customer satisfaction in 13 sectors: UKCSI score vs change in score 3 UKCSI all-sector average = Utilities UKCSI up but remains below all-sector average UKCSI up slightly and above all-sector average Change in UKCSI score (Jan 2014 to Jan 2015) Transport Public Services (Local) Public Services (National) Telecommunications & media Banks & Building Societies Tourism Retail (Food) Insurance Retail (Non-food) Automotive Leisure -3 UKCSI down and remains below all-sector average Services UKCSI down but remains above all-sector average Sector UKCSI score, Jan The Institute of Customer Service

11 UKCSI scores and change in scores by sector UKCSI score January 2015 UKCSI score July 2014 UKCSI score January 2014 Change in UKCSI January January 2014 Highest scoring organisation in the sector Retail (Non-food) Retail (Food) Tourism Automotive Banks & Building Societies Leisure Insurance Services Transport Public Services (Local) Telecommunications & Media Public Services (National) Utilities John Lewis (87.2) Ocado (85.4) Center Parcs (82.9) Skoda (82.9) First Direct (86.7) Greggs (82.5) LV= (83.5) Autoglass (80.2) Thomson Airways (82.8) Your local library (81.9) Tesco Mobile (82.5) DVLA (76.2) Yorkshire Water (77.3) 2. The average UKCSI score of the Services sector has been reduced by the inclusion of Royal Mail in the sector from the July 2014 survey onwards. This change follows the government s sale of a majority share in the organisation. Without this addition, the Services sector score for January 2015 would be 79.0, which is a drop of 1.2 compared to January 14. The Institute of Customer Service 9

12 the new environment for customer service The Institute s research published in November 2014, Beyond Measurement: customer service and business performance 3, highlighted a range of factors which are forcing organisations fundamentally to rethink relationships with customers. Decline in trust Levels of trust in organisations have fallen 4 Recent research from the CBI suggests that few customers instinctively trust business 5 In a Financial Times poll, nearly two-thirds of UK voters said they wanted the next government to be tougher on big business 6 Diversity of customer segments There are markedly different levels of customer satisfaction in different customer segments This research demonstrates different levels of satisfaction by age group, region and socio-economic group Young people are on average less satisfied. But where they are satisfied they are more likely to recommend organisations An intense focus on value An enduring legacy of the recession is an intense focus on value UKCSI has consistently shown a range of different attitudes to the relative importance placed on service and price 62% of customers want a balance of price and service with at least a minimum threshold standard of service 7 23% indicate a preference for excellent service, even if it costs more 14% of customers seek the cheapest possible deals and will sacrifice levels of service to achieve them Changing attitudes to ethics and sustainability New attitudes to ethical and sustainable business are emerging Customers who are more selective with their spending also have higher expectations of products and services and the organisations they deal with, including values that are important to them personally such as quality, integrity and sustainability 8 3. The report is available through the Institute s website at 4. See for example the analysis in the annual Edelmann Barometer, a summary of which is available online at 5. CBI (2014), Research on business trust 6. Starbucks backlash was not just froth by Michael Skapiner. Financial Times, 14 July Data is taken from the UKCSI January 2015 survey results. For the previous results see the UKCSI July 2014 Executive Summary by the Institute of Customer Service, available online here: 8. See for example Sainsbury s (2012), The Rise of New Fashioned Values 10 The Institute of Customer Service

13 Emotional factors Growing complexity, technological change, the decline in trust and economic pressures have heightened customers emotional needs and make it more critical for organisations to find authentic ways of connecting with them There is also evidence that emotional factors are increasingly important in B2B buying decisions, often connected with the consequence of the decision for an employee s career or job security 9 Omnichannel and technology Customers use of technology has shifted rapidly to mobility and always-on access Tablets will outsell all PCs and laptops worldwide for the first time in Many customers especially active online users are receptive to personalised services, which anticipate and reflect their needs based on insight about preferences and purchasing behaviour, but this needs to be managed intelligently Transparency of information means that customers increasingly refer to recommendations. Many organisations have reported that customers benchmark their service against market leaders such as Amazon and John Lewis Some customers are willing indeed increasingly expect deeper and ongoing relationships with organisations and active involvement in co-creating products and services; they are also expecting organisations to provide an end-to-end service experience, which may mean outside of the actual organisation driving organisations to collaborate across company boundaries Employee engagement There is growing awareness of the link between engaged, knowledgeable, helpful employees and customer satisfaction and business performance 11 Levels of investment in customer service During the economic downturn, many organisations cut investment in customer service As growth has begun to return, investment has often focused on short term objectives of customer acquisition rather than a consistent and sustained focus on the whole customer experience 9. CEB Marketing Leadership (2013), From Promotion to Emotion: Connecting B2B Customers to Brands 10. See 11. See the report Are you being engaged? Employee engagement and its influence on customer satisfaction and buying behaviour, as published by the Institute of Customer Service in 2014 The Institute of Customer Service 11

14 Satisfaction varies between customer groups Analysis of the demographic data in UKCSI shows that there are important variations in customer satisfaction between broadly-defined groups of customers. This is particularly true when segmenting by age, with younger people claiming significantly lower levels of satisfaction. Analysis of the UKCSI results shows that these lower satisfaction levels among younger age groups are reflected in the levels of trust and loyalty they feel towards the organisations they deal with. However, among the age group in particular there is a noticeable tendency to make recommendations. Despite their relatively low average satisfaction levels, 42% of 18 24s have recommended the organisation they have dealt in the past six months, a higher proportion than for any other age group. This indicates that organisations that can raise satisfaction among younger customers will benefit from increased word of mouth, particularly via online channels. UKCSI score by age group UKCSI score by socio-economic group to to to Wales Northern England Scotland South West England 45 to 54 Central England Northern Ireland South East England 55 to and above A B C1 C2 D E UKCSI score by region/country 12 The Institute of Customer Service

15 why customer service matters Customer service is crucially important to the performance of individual organisations in both UK and global markets, the attractiveness of the UK as a place to visit and do business and the overall health and sustainability of the economy. More than 70% of the working population deal directly with customers in their job roles 12 The UK service sector accounts for over three quarters of GDP 13 In manufacturing industries, service is increasingly important as a differentiator in domestic and global markets Customer service and business performance Amid a volatile and changing customer environment, successive UKCSI surveys have revealed a consistent relationship between high levels of customer service and key measures of business performance and brand value, including sales growth, loyalty, recommendation and trust. 95% of highly satisfied customers are very likely to remain as customers Only 5% of dissatisfied customers are very likely to remain 12. Finding based on unpublished research carried out by the Institute of Customer Service in See the World Bank data on service sector contribution to GDP at data.worldbank.org/indicator/nv.srv.tetc.zs The Institute of Customer Service 13

16 Customer satisfaction and sales growth: Retail Food Food Retail is one of the most challenging and highly contested sectors of the economy, where changes in customer needs and preferences quickly affect business performance. Analysis of UKCSI scores and Kantar World Panel sales data 14 demonstrates the links between customer satisfaction, sales growth and market share. Importantly, these links are consistent over time, having been observed on each of the six occasions that the analysis has been carried out since July Performance Indicator Food retailers with higher than average UKCSI Food retailers with lower than average UKCSI Pattern of results for all UKCSI analysis since July 2012 Average annual sales growth (12 weeks to 12 Oct 2014) Annual market share change (12 weeks to 12 Oct 2014) +8.2% -1.9% +0.2% -0.5% Food retailers with above average UKCSI scores have outperformed their below average competitors by a margin of at least 3% on all six occasions that this analysis has been run since July 2012 Food retailers with above average UKCSI scores have grown their combined market share, while the below average competitors have seen a fall in their combined market share; this pattern has been observed on all six occasions that this analysis has been run since July 2012 Customer satisfaction and sales growth: the Retail Food sector Annual sales growth for the 12 weeks to 12/10/14 Source: Kantar Worldpanel 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% -5% The Co-operative (Food) Morrisons Tesco Lidl Asda Sainsbury s Aldi Waitrose Iceland -10% UKCSI scores 14. The Kantar Worldpanel data can be found at 14 The Institute of Customer Service

17 Customer satisfaction and sales growth: the Retail Food sector -4.0% -2.0% 0.0% 2.0% 4.0% 6.0% 8.0% 10.0% +8.2% -1.9% Food retailers with above Sector average UKCSI Food retailers with below Sector average UKCSI Customer satisfaction and market share growth: the Retail Food sector 1.5% Annual market share change, 12/10/14 Source: Kantar Worldpanel 1.0% 0.5% 0.0% -0.5% The Co-operative (Food) Aldi Lidl Waitrose Asda Iceland Morrisons Sainsbury s -1.0% Tesco -1.5% UKCSI scores Customer satisfaction and market share growth: the Retail Food sector -0.6% -0.4% -0.2% 0.0% 0.2% 0.4% +0.2% -0.5% Food retailers with above Sector average UKCSI Food retailers with below Sector average UKCSI The Institute of Customer Service 15

18 Customer satisfaction drives retention, recommendation and trust In a volatile and demanding customer environment, organisations are having to work harder to engage their customers. The evidence from UKCSI demonstrates that focusing on customer service is a tangible way of building trusted and sustainable relationships. Customer measure High satisfaction (UKCSI of 9-10 out of 10) Low satisfaction (UKCSI of 1-4 out of 10) Gap between high and low satisfaction Loyalty % of customers who are highly loyal (scoring 9-10 on the measure of intention to remain a customer) Recommendation % of customers who have recommended an organisation Trust % of customers who give a trust rating of 9 or 10 (out of 10) 95% 5% 89% 56% 6% 50% 83% 1% 82% 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% % of customers who are highly loyal (i.e. scoring 9 10 for intention to remain a customer) % of customers who have recommended the organisation % of customers who give the organisation a high trust rating (i.e. scoring 9 10 for trust) Customers satisfaction rating (1 10 scale) as measured in UKCSI Overall satisfaction score per customer (out of 10) % of customers who are highly loyal (i.e. scoring 9-10 for intention to remain a customer) % 6% 6% 6% 8% 13% 29% 66% 95% % of customers who have recommended the organisation 2% 5% 6% 12% 17% 21% 28% 40% 56% % of customers who give the organisation a high trust rating (i.e. scoring 9-10 for trust) 0% 1% 0% 1% 2% 4% 10% 38% 83% 16 The Institute of Customer Service

19 customer satisfaction and employee engagement Where employees are perceived by customers to be engaged, knowledgeable, friendly and helpful, there is a higher incidence of not only more satisfied customers but also increased loyalty and repurchase 15. This underlines the growing importance of employee engagement to organisations as a differentiator and driver of customer satisfaction. The employee engagement measures tracked by the Institute of Customer Service are based on customers responses when asked to rate the staff they have dealt with (either in person or on the phone) against key attributes on a scale of These attributes include: Knowledgeable Friendly Helpful Interested in meeting my needs Seemed proud to work for the organisation Sector satisfaction scores vs employee engagement scores Average employee engagement score on 5 key attributes Public Services (Local) Banks & Building Societies Services Insurance Telecommunications & Media Automotive Leisure Tourism Retail (Food) Retail (Non-food) 7.3 Transport Public Services (National) Utilities Sector UKCSI scores 15. See the report Are you being engaged? Employee engagement and its influence on customer satisfaction and buying behaviour, as published by the Institute of Customer Service The Institute of Customer Service 17

20 UKCSI score for the sector Average employee engagement score based on 5 key attributes Ratings for 5 key indications of employee engagement Knowledgeable Friendly Helpful Interested in meeting my needs Seemed proud to work for the organisation Retail (Non-food) Retail (Food) Tourism Automotive Banks & Building Societies Leisure Insurance Services Transport Public Services (Local) Telecommunications & Media Public Services (National) Utilities The Institute of Customer Service

21 trends in the UKCSI customer satisfaction measures The UKCSI survey covers 28 metrics encompassing different aspects of the customer experience. The detailed data on these metrics for sectors and all organisations covered in UKCSI can be found in the individual UKCSI Sector Reports 16. Looking broadly across all organisations and sectors, customers are rating performance lower on almost all of the 28 metrics included in the survey, compared to two years ago: Only two metrics The outcome of the complaint and On time delivery are judged by customers to have improved since January 2013, by 0.2 points out of 10 and 0.03 points respectively The remaining 26 metrics have seen a fall in rating since January 2013, with 11 dropping by more than 0.25 out of 10. The 11 aspects of the customer experience that customers say have deteriorated the most in two years Average customer score in UKCSI Jan-13 Jul-13 Jan-14 Jul-14 Jan-15 Competence of staff Helpfulness of staff Product/service range Speed of service in person Availability of support (Website) Reputation of the organisation Ease of getting through over the phone Speed of response (Writing) Staff doing what they say they will do (Complaints) Handling of the complaint Speed of resolving your complaint 16. For details of the latest UKCSI sector reports, please visit: The Institute of Customer Service 19

22 Decreases in customer experience metrics over the past 2 years: three key themes Key theme Relevant metrics Implications Speed and responsiveness Speed of service in person Speed of resolving your complaint Speed of response (writing) Availability of support (website) Ease of getting through over the phone Expectations have evolved rapidly; customers expect faster service and more convenience whether queuing to buy in-store, making an enquiry or attempting to resolve a problem Organisations need to ensure that they are easy and quick to do business with In many cases this means simplifying service processes to remove avoidable complication and delay Complaints processes Handling of the complaint Speed of resolving your complaint Staff doing what they say they will do (complaints) Despite slight improvements in the last two surveys, scores for these three complaints metrics remain below January 2013 levels and significantly lower on average than other customer experience metrics Not all complaints can be resolved to the customer s satisfaction but unsatisfactory complaints procedures drive overall customer dissatisfaction and negative word of mouth Many organisations need to reassess their complaints processes to prevent complaints from occurring and resolve them more effectively Staff behaviour and attitude Staff doing what they say they will do (complaints) Helpfulness of staff Competence of staff Employees behaviour and attitude has a significant impact on customer satisfaction and buying behaviour, particularly via the in-person and phone channels Proactive employee engagement strategies developing key competences such as emotional intelligence and coaching are key to empowering employees to deal with challenging customer situations 20 The Institute of Customer Service

23 the customer service performance of organisations The top-scoring organisations in UKCSI John Lewis retains the no.1 ranking in UKCSI that it regained from Amazon in July Both organisations are part of a select group of organisations that consistently appear towards the top of the rankings because they are delivering a consistently high level of customer service. In total just seven organisations have scored over 83 in UKCSI over the past two years (i.e. in all UKCSI surveys since January 2013), indicating that they are sustaining a particularly high level of customer satisfaction. These seven, all of which operate in the retail or banking sectors, are highlighted below. A total of 205 named organisations are included in the UKCSI results for January January 2015 rank Organisation January 2015 score January 2014 score January 2014 rank Change in score January January John Lewis = Amazon = First Direct Ocado 85.4 no data 5 Marks & Spencer (Food) Nationwide = LV= = Waitrose Argos Aldi = Center Parcs = Skoda Thomson Airways = Greggs = Tesco Mobile Next Iceland The Institute of Customer Service 21

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