Online retailers deliver most customer satisfaction, new Index reveals

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The retail industry remains the strongest performing sector for customer service, with internet retailers stealing a march on their high street competitors, according to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI)by the Institute of Consumer Service (ICS). 

Online fashion retailer, ASOS, achieves the highest overall customer satisfaction in the Index, with almost 92 out of a maximum score of 100, equalling Amazon’s record high score set in January of this year.
 
ASOS is closely followed by Amazon and online bank, First Direct, in the overall customer satisfaction stakes. 
 
The picture across the UKCSI as a whole is positive, as customer service in the UK continues to improve. The average score across all organisations is 78 out of 100, up slightly from 77.4 in January 2012. An impressive 44% of organisations scored above 80. 

Since January, every sector included in the UKCSI improved its rating, except local authorities (74.8), which remained consistent with its January score of 74.9. 

Non-food and food retail lead the UKCSI sector performance rankings, with local service providers narrowly behind (81.5). Other strong industries for customer satisfaction include automotive (80.9), leisure (80.8) and tourism (80.5). Financial services, including banking and insurance, scores above 78. 
 
Sectors scoring below average (achieving between 72 and 75) include local authorities, national government services, telecommunications, transport and utilities.  
 
The UKCSI is the national measure of customer satisfaction. The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) gauges the quality of customer service in the UK by surveying 26,000 consumers each year.
 
Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, said: “The overall improvement in the UKCSI is an encouraging indicator that organisations are continuing to prioritise and invest in customer service. 
 
“However, the increased diversity in customer satisfaction reflects customers’ growing sensitivity to the experience they receive in a challenging economic climate. 
 
“With less disposable income, consumers are far more discerning. In this environment, service will be the key differentiator, helping to deliver a tangible impact on customer retention, loyalty, and ultimately, the bottom line.” 
 
The Top Performing Organisations: July 2012
Rank Organisation UKCSI score / 100
1 ASOS 91.6
2 Amazon 90.6
3 First Direct 89.0
4 John Lewis 88.5
5 Volvo 88.2
6 Ambulance Service 87.7
7 Fire Service  87.3
8 Waitrose 87.0
9= Hertz 86.5
9= Skoda 86.5
 
Retail (non-food)
 
Non-food retail establishes a clear lead over all other sectors in the latest Index, rising from 81.9 in January to 84.1.
 
ASOS, Amazon, John Lewis and Waitrose all feature among the top organisations for customer satisfaction.
 
Online retail in particular has improved its customer service in 2012, taking the top two places in the Index overall and leading the non-food retail sector. 
 
Internet retailer, ASOS, also achieves a high satisfaction rating in terms of timeliness, with customers giving the brand a score of 93 for its speed of service and on time deliveries. 
 
Top Performing Organisations: Non-food Retail
Rank
Organisation
UKCSI score / 100
1
ASOS
91.6
2
Amazon
90.6
3
John Lewis
88.5
4
85.1
5
Superdrug
84.8
 
Retail (food)
 
Food retail places second in the overall Index on 81.6. In this highly competitive sector, the results prove a strong correlation between high (or low) customer satisfaction and market share growth. 
 
Companies with an overall customer satisfaction score higher than the sector average (81.6), have seen an average market share growth of 0.8% in the last 12 months. Companies with an overall customer satisfaction score lower than 81.6 have seen an average market share drop of – 0.13%. 
 
Top Performing Organisations: Food Retail
Rank
Organisation
UKCSI score / 100
1
Waitrose
87.0
2
Iceland
85.9
3
Marks & Spencer (food)
85.0
4
Aldi
83.3
5
ASDA
83.2
 
Causon said: “The retail results demonstrate that companies can use service as a key differentiator to deliver a tangible impact on their results in the form of increased sales and market share.
 
“That the retail league tables are dominated by both online retailers and retailers with a strong high street presence also suggests customers expect and value quality interactions, whichever channel they choose.”