- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Online retailer Amazon UK has been named the best for customer satisfaction, according to new research compiled by The Institute of Customer Service.
The index noted that customer satisfaction is on the rise as retailers and organisations respond to changing consumer demands, and based on the views of 10,000 UK consumers, the UK Customer Satisfaction Index saw Amazon UK top the index, up from second place last year.
Amazon was followed by a newcomer to the index, Utility Warehouse, and First Direct. Also, in the top ten were Specsavers, John Lewis and New Look, all of which posted impressive increases of more than three points over the past 12 months. This year’s index’s top 50 is more competitive than ever with only 5.7 points between the first placed organisation and the 50th, compared to 7.5 points last year.
The UK Customer Satisfaction Index showed the first significant boost in customer satisfaction since 2012, a rise of 0.8 points to 77 (out of 100) but was still some way off the 2013 peak of 78.2.
Competence of staff was considered the most important element for customer satisfaction in 2015, after being ranked only eleventh in 2010. Staff ‘doing what they say they will do’ and competence on the phone were the next most important priorities for customers. Helpfulness of staff, in person, rose from 21st to fourth in the rankings, while friendliness of staff and ease of doing business also rose on the index of customer priorities.
Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, said: “Core ingredients of excellent customer service - employee competence, attitudes and behaviour - have become even more significant differentiators.
“Mass marketing or a ‘one size fits all’ customer experience is delivering diminishing returns and diluting valuable customer relationships. The insight we have gathered from this UKCSI identifies the components of excellent service and where strategic and operational effort should be focused to make further improvements.”
Customer satisfaction on the rise, as Amazon UK tops new research
The index also identifies that companies should interpret the use of different channels and platforms of communication by customers. The research shows that those using more than two channels are more likely to be unhappy with the service they receive. Organisations monitoring this could act as an early warning to organisations proactively deal with issues before unhappy customers share their experience more widely.
Carson added: “While the multi-channel environment demanded by customers has the potential to offer a faster more flexible service, it can also exacerbate problems if not done correctly. Challenger brands, often unencumbered by legacy systems and processes are gaining on their larger competitors by offering straightforward, personal, seamless and quick service experience.
“This is reshaping the competitive environment around customer service and removing barriers to entry to create a real opportunity for smaller organisations to succeed against larger rivals.”
When it comes to satisfaction by sector, retail non-food remained the sector with the highest satisfaction score, but utilities improved most, gaining 1.9 points on last year, closely followed by insurance (1.6) and retail food (1.5). Banks and building societies fell by 0.4 points despite improving significantly since the banking crisis.
Image: Amazon UK